Mummified mice, cats and birds found in Egyptian tomb
Egypt: An ancient, finely painted tomb which contains mummified birds, cats and mice as well as one human mummy has been discovered by archaeologists in Egypt.
The well-preserved site is thought to date back to the early Ptolemaic period and was found near the city of Sohag, reports the independent.co.uk.
Ptolemaic rule spanned about three centuries from around 323BC to the Roman conquest of Egypt in 30BC.
‘It’s one of the most exciting discoveries ever in the area,’ said Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA).
He described the burial site as a ‘beautiful, colourful tomb’.
An ‘unprecedented collection’ of more than 50 mummified mice, falcons and cats was discovered housed inside, officials said.
The SCA described it as a ‘spectacular’ find.
The burial site is thought to have belonged to an official named Tutu and his wife. It is unclear where the female mummy is.
It is one of seven similar sites discovered by authorities in the area last October, when officials found smugglers digging illegally for artefacts.
‘The tomb is made up of a central lobby, and a burial room with two stone coffins. The lobby is divided in two,’ Waziri said.
Officials said the painted walls inside the site depict funeral processions and images of the owner working in the fields, as well as his family genealogy written in hieroglyphics.
‘It shows images of the owner of the burial room, Tutu, giving and receiving gifts before different gods and goddesses,’ said Mr Waziri. ‘We see the same thing for his wife, Ta-Shirit-Iziz, with the difference that (we see) verses from a book, the book of the afterlife.’
A spokesperson for the SCA said the inscriptions inside had ‘retained their colour over thousands of years’.
Egypt’s ancient sites are a draw for tourists, and authorities hope new finds can help boost the sector, which has been recovering after foreigners were scared off by the north African country’s 2011 popular uprising and the turmoil and insecurity that followed.