Minister of Antiquities Dr. Khaled El-Enany announced some days ago a new discovery made by an Egyptian archaeological mission during excavation work carried out since April until now at the area located on the stony edge of King Userkaf pyramid complex in Saqqara Necropolis.
Although it has been known for a long time that for the Egyptians cats were sacred, and they were routinely mummified and even bred for this purpose, to be faced with dozens of mummies of cats, buried inside a tomb dating back to 4500 years ago , must have left the archaeologists speechless!
Inside there were tens of cat mummies were unearthed along with 100 wooden gilded statues of cats and a bronze one dedicated to the cat goddess Bastet.
It is not uncommon to find mummies of animals in Egyptian tombs: it was a rather common practice to bring their pets in the afterlife, as common as the current habit of lighting a candle in the church, according to archaeologist Salima Ikram.
However, it is very rare to find mummified scarabs, like those found in the tombs recently discovered in Saqqara.
Two large beetles, wrapped in linen cloths and placed inside a rectangular limestone sarcophagus with vaulted lid decorated with three scarabs painted in black, are a surprising discovery, because, according to the general secretary of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, Mostafa Waziri, “the scarabeo (mummified) it is something truly unique “. In addition to the stone sarcophagus, a smaller one was found containing other beetles.
This is a rare and precious discovery, as Waziri always tells to Reuters agency: “A couple of days ago, when we discovered those coffins, they were coffins sealed with scribble drawings. I’ve never heard of it before.”
In addition to mummified cats and beetles, a collection of wooden gilded statues depicting the physical features of a lion, a cow, and a falcon was also discovered.
Two crocodiles were also found in the tombs of Saqqara, hundreds of majolica amulets, three alabaster canopic jars and writing tools such as ink pots with pens along with several papyri written in demotic and heretic while a third pile has chapters from the Book of the Dead. Names of two ladies, Subek Sekt and Mafy, were mentioned for the first time ever as their names were found engraved on a false door.
The Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities has given great importance to recent discoveries, in an attempt to give new impetus to tourism, which in recent years has been in sharp decline.