Saturday, December 14, 2013


MUMMIFIED dogs are not rare in Egypt, but dogs rolled up and buried in pots is extraordinary, and now archaeologists have found two well preserved dogs buried in pots some 3,000 years ago  — and they have no idea how the Egyptians got them in the pots.

Nicknamed Houdini and Chewie, the potted dogs were discovered at Shunet ez Zebib, a large mud-brick structure located at Abydos — one of the most sacred cities in Ancient Egypt, legendary location of the the fabled Tomb of Osiris. The site was built around 2750 BC and was dedicated to Khasekhemwy, a second dynasty king.

It is also known for the the thousands of ibis burials in jars that had been recovered in the dunes nearby, and for the interments of other animals, mostly raptors and canines.

"The site provided a very secure structure, with conveniently soft, sandy fill that was easy for quick burials within a sacred space," Salima Ikram, professor of Egyptology at The American University in Cairo, wrote in a recently published Festschrift in honor of Dieter Kessler, a renowned scholar in the field of animal cults and Egyptian religion.

"Of the many jars that were recovered, only 13 have thus far been properly investigated. Of these, four were empty, three contained ibises, and five were filled with dogs," Ikram said.

While three pots contained skeletonized remains of dogs, the last two housed Houdini and Chewie, two animals with their fur largely intact.

"Although it is common to find birds in pots, it is rare to find other animals buried in this way," Ikram told Discovery News.

In particular, no canine burials in pots have been recorded in the many dog cemeteries scattered throughout Egypt.

"These jars were probably made and used for some sort of storage, and then re-used as coffins for the dogs. They are quite charming as the dogs are curled up in the pots," Ikra said.

According to the researcher, both animals were mature, probably around five years of age.

"They were probably votive offerings unless they held the position of sacred animals — perhaps the pot burials are indicative of their being Sacred rather than just Votive," Ikram said.

How the two animals were pushed into pots from which they cannot be extracted now remains a mystery.

"Without further examination and chemical testing it is not possible to understand the process by which these two animals were preserved," Ikram said.

No comments:

Post a Comment