Egypt: Eight Million Mummified dogs unearthed in mass grave

“It’s unclear why these other animals were buried in the dog catacomb, but it is likely that all ‘doglike’ creatures were interchangeable, and that mythological reasons probably underlie the choice of cats and raptors,” the researchers wrote in a study published in the journal Antiquity. The mass grave contains nearly eight million mummifed dogs and puppies.

Many of the dogs were reported to be only hours or days old when they were mummified. Some older dogs had more elaborate burial rituals, and may have lived at the temple, but the younger pups were likely “bred – farmed if you will – for the cult,” Nicholson said.

Tragically, it’s likely that these young pups were separated from their mothers and died from dehydration or starvation.

“They probably weren’t killed by physical action; we don’t have evidence of broken necks that you get with cat burials,” Nicholson said.

The catacomb roof also housed the fossil of an ancient sea monster, a marine vertebrate which is believed to be more than 48 million years old.

“The ancient [Egyptian] quarry men may have been aware of it, or they may have gone straight through it, it’s hard to know,” said Nicholson, who is researching the fossil with his colleagues.

“The ancient [Egyptian] quarry men may have been aware of it, or they may have gone straight through it, it’s hard to know,” said Nicholson, who is researching the fossil with his colleagues.

A professor of archaeology at Cardiff University in the UK, Paul Nicholson, studied the catacomb’s rock walls and mummified contents. He discovered that the catacomb was most likely to built in the 4th century BC, and composed entirely of stone from the Lower Eocene (about 56 million to 48 million years ago).

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