According to a press statement released by Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities, an unearthed Egyptian necropolis, near the Saqqara Step Pyramid, yielded various mummified animals.
The discovery, which the Ministry says isn’t the last for this year, revealed an assortment of mummified birds, snakes,beetles, crocodiles and cats at the hands of an Egyptian archeological mission led by Dr. Mostafa Waziri, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities.
Among the retrieved items, which all date to dynasty 26 which roughly refers to 664-525 BC, was a collection of wooden and bronze cat statues. There were also over 70 deity statues of the gods Ptah Sokar, Osiris, and Sekhmet.
Egyptian Minister of Antiquities Khaled El Enany described the discovery as “a museum by itself as hundred objects have been unearthed here at the Bubastian necropolis in saqqara” according to the statement.
The large cat mummies, which are strongly indicative of lion cubs as per observations of bone structure and size, are currently undergoing CT scanning and analysis.
It isn’t the first time that archeologists uncover remains of a lion or large felines from ancient Egypt.
Led by French archaeologist Alain Zivie in 2001, the French Archaeological Mission of the Bubasteion found lion remains in 2001, inside the tomb of Maia, the wet nurse of famed boy-king Tutankhamun.
However, the remains were not mummified, prompting an array of research questions on the practice of mummifying large animals, which was deemed a lengthy, expensive and arduous task despite its symbolic implications.
As of late year, Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities has been regularly announcing discoveries and finds in the hopes of maintaining and widening archeological tourism in the country.