Cattle in ancient Egypt
Cattle are among the most important domesticated animals. They could serve different functions: working animal, meat provider, milk provider. The very possession of cattle implied great wealth. Cattle are attested already in the eighth millennium BC in domestic contexts in Western Asia (Brewer/Redford/Redford 1994: 79, Tell Mureybit, Syria). The earliest undisputed cattle remains in Africa were found at Capeletti, Algeria (Brewer/Redford/Redford 1994: 79, about 4500 BC). In Egypt they appear first in the cultures of Fayum and Merimde, although it is not entirely certain if the remains found are from wild or domestic animals. The bones found at Merimde seem to come from domestic animals.
There is much discussion over the origin of cattle in Egypt and Africa in general: are Egyptian cattle originally from the Near East or were they first domesticated in Africa?
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