Archaeologists have found about 50 mummified animals that include cats, mice, and falcons in a well-preserved and colorful Egyptian tomb believed to date back more than 2,000 years ago.
Built For A Senior Official And His Wife
The tomb was built for a senior official named Tutu and his wife Ta-Shirit-Iziz. The ancient burial site is one of seven discovered near Sohag in October. Authorities described Sohag, a city in a desert near the Nile, as one of the most historically rich cities in Egypt.
The tomb's walls were painted with images depicting funeral processions, and the owner and his family working in the fields. They also showed Tutu giving and receiving gifts before different gods and goddesses. There is also the family genealogy written in hieroglyphics.
Beautiful And Colorful Tomb
Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities secretary general Mostafa Waziri described the burial chamber as a beautiful and colorful tomb.
"The tomb is made up of a central lobby, and a burial room with two stone coffins. The lobby is divided in two," he said.
"It shows images of the owner of the burial room, Tutu, giving and receiving gifts before different gods and goddesses."
Cats In Ancient Egypt
The discovery of mummified cats in the tomb reinforces the long-held belief that the ancient Egyptians loved cats.
Cats were considered divine creatures for the ancient Egyptians, who also worshipped a Cat Goddess called Bastet, which was represented as half feline and half woman.
"What they were [actually] doing was associating cats to specific deities because of their attitude, how they were behaving in the natural world," explained Antonietta Catanzariti, Smithsonian's Arthur M. Sackler Gallery curatorial fellow, about the Egyptians' fascination for cats.
"Everything had a meaning. A cat protecting the house from mice. Or it might just protect kittens. These were attitudes that were attributed to a specific goddess."
Magnet For Tourists
Ancient sites are the main tourist attractions in Egypt. Authorities hope that new discoveries help bolster the tourism sector, which was impacted by the Egyptian revolution of 2011 and terrorist attacks.