Armchair Archaeology: The Sacred Animal Necropolis

Armchair Archaeology: The Sacred Animal Necropolis
It's been a while since we did some armchair archaeology so let's go visit the Sacred Animal Necropolis North of Saqqara by Spectrum Heritage. I love these fantastic 3D models, they are a great way to explore and contemplate sites for experts and enthusiasts alike.

Although Saqqara was an ancient site of great significance from at least the time of the Old Kingdom as a royal burial place, it should be remembered that animal cults were prominent only quite late in ancient Egypt's history, and are an example of ongoing use of the site. It should also be remembered that although there is evidence that the ancient Egyptians could be animal lovers who wanted to commemorate their pets and take them with them into the afterlife, the animals here were offerings to the gods, often sold to pilgrims in great numbers and not always what the purported to be.
The link is to a 3D model of the site posted on Sketchfab and is probably best viewed on a desktop.
h/t @SpectrumDH (via Twitter)
Additional resources:
Map showing this temple (in blue) and associated burial areas

More about this site

Ancient Egyptians and their attitudes to animals by Dr Campbell Price

Edit: Updated for Blogger


  1. One of the most famous statues of one of the ancient Egyptian cats found in the Louvre no I'm sorry it's in the British museum the black cat with the Rings through its nose and it and two earrings in his ears was supposed to be a mortuary statue of sorts but it was hollow which means that a lot of the mummy wrappings from ancient Egyptian animal sacrifices where they were either killed very inhumanely or they were just a whole bunch of wrapped linen

    1. I think you are referring to the Gayer Anderson cat, which was cast in metal. I don't think it was ever meant to contain an animal mummy but was used as a votive. It is true that many "mummified" animals contained bits of stick, assorted bones and other objects -- they were sold to pilgrims and were fashionable in the Late Period, but aren't really a 'thing' in earlier periods.


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