8 Million Animal Mummies Mostly Dogs And Puppies; It is no secret that the ancient Egyptians of centuries past worshiped many different gods or that many of these gods were at least partially animalistic in nature. For example, the Egyptian god Horus had the head of a falcon while Set, the god of chaos had the head of a pig and one of the most well known gods – Anubis – had the head of a jackal or dog. Anubis was considered the god of death and it is in the catacomb near the temple that was built in his honor that millions of animal mummies – mostly dogs and puppies but some other animals as well – were found by archaeologists. Some of these other animals included falcons, foxes, cats and mongoose however these made up a very small percentage of the total number of animals found at less than 10%.
A large number of the mummified dogs that were found were puppies that are believed to have lived as little as a few days or even a few hours. Based on the cult followings during these times it is also believed that many of these puppies may have been bred specifically to serve as sacrifices to Anubis. Sacrifices such as this were thought to be looked upon favorably by the Egyptian god. During these times animal sacrifices were considered necessary and such activities were very religious in nature. Although these mummified puppies were very young they do not appear to have been physically killed. Studies suggest that they may have died as a result of dehydration or starvation after being separated from their mother since there is no evidence of broken necks or other such physical causes of death.
While a large number of the mummified remains were small puppies there were also many that were much larger as well. It is thought that these were dogs that led full lives and some of them may have actually even lived in the temple during their lives.
It is a tragic fact that animals have been used as live sacrifices for various cults for many centuries. The most common of these animal sacrifices are often in the form of dogs and cats however there are many other animals that have fallen victim to such practices as well. Fortunately, in today’s modern world there are now laws and regulations that protect such animals from being killed in this fashion although it does still happen in some places. Over the years however many animals have become more valuable as cherished pets and companions rather than being bred simply to feed the belief that it will placate some ancient god. Animal cults remained a popular part of Egyptian culture for hundreds of years and more until the occupation of the area by the Romans. After this time cults of this nature began to diminish and so did the animal sacrifices that accompanied such religious beliefs. The later occupation of other nationalities also served to further decrease such previously common activities.
Although there have been many cases where animal remains have been found in similar locations this particular study is the most thoroughly researched find of this nature to date. It is estimated that this study will continue for many years to come in an effort to understand more about this civilization and their religious beliefs and practices.