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Saqqara: The Sacred Animal Necropolis: the catacombs

Mummies of animals and birds were placed as votive offerings in huge catacombs at Saqqara (called in demotic texts: awii-Htp n pA hb 'house of rest of Ibis) with sometimes up to one million mummified animal remains. Such mummified animals were found in all parts of the country and there is a wide range of animals which were mummified (list: Kessler 1989: 32-34, compare: cats). Decrees especially of the Ptolemaic Period show the special care of the kings for the animal cults.

ibis mummies found at Saqqara in the South Ibis galleries and in the South shaft of mastaba 3508

(click on the images for a larger picture)

UC 30690 UC 30692 UC 30693

dummy mummy
Falcon (?) mummy
UC 55000
UC 55001

Further reading:

  • Hopfner 1913 (study on animals cults including comments of classical authors)
  • Kessler 1989 (the main study on animal cults in ancient Egypt, interpreting the animal cult as part of the royal cult)


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