Mummified Rats Found in Egypt

 

In Egypt, archaeologists recently unearthed eight small limestone coffins with mummified remains of rodents, most likely rats, about 10cm long.

The mummies were discovered in a burial area near Abydos, a sacred city 550 kilometers from Cairo. The vast complex of tombs and temples at Abydos includes the temple of  Osiris, Egyptian god of the dead, and was seen by ancient Egyptians as the gateway to the underworld.

The tiny coffins were decorated with gilded reliefs of the rodents. Other rodent mummies were found in wooden coffins painted red and blue. The remains are thought to date back to 300 BC.

The ancient Egyptians mummified a wide variety of animals either because they were favorite pets or because they were sacred.

It was believed that rats ate the hearts of sinners on judgment day.



Source: BBC News, January 2, 2001

 

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