Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Statue, chapels and animal mummies found in Egypt

Date:
March 12, 2012
Source:
University of Toronto
Summary:
A wooden statue of a king, a private offering chapel, a monumental building and remains of over 80 animal mummies found in Abydos, Egypt, reveal intriguing information about ritual activity associated with the great gods.

The remains of least 83 individual dogs, ranging from puppies to adults, were recovered from the deposit in the monumental building.
Credit: Mary-Ann Pouls Wegner

A wooden statue of a king, a private offering chapel, a monumental building and remains of over 80 animal mummies found by a University of Toronto-led team in Abydos, Egypt reveal intriguing information about ritual activity associated with the great gods.

Professor Mary-Ann Pouls Wegner of the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations presented her team's findings at a recent meeting of the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities.

The wooden statue is one of very few existing royal wooden statues, and may represent the female king Hatshepsut. She was often portrayed as male in stone because the Egyptian pharaoh was understood to be son of the god Amon-Re (she was also known to dress as a man for the role). But this statue has a smaller waist and delicate jawline, acknowledging these aspects of her feminine physique. It is believed to be from a ceremonial procession in which wooden statues of the royal ancestors (spirits of the kings) and gods were carried in boat-shaped shrines by priests from the temple of Osiris to his tomb. The procession was part of a festival celebrating the afterlife of the god Osiris.

Egyptians from all levels of society built chapels and monuments along the processional route as a way of ensuring their eternal participation in the festival and their identification with Osiris. Building too close to the route, however, was prohibited by the state and infringement carried the threat of the death penalty. The offering chapel they uncovered is believed to be that of an elite person, dates from about 1990 -- 1650 BC and shows where the boundary to the route was.

"The offering chapel proves that people -- probably elites -- were able to build monuments right next to the processional route in the Middle Kingdom, and that at least one such chapel was allowed to stand in this increasingly densely built-up area and continued to receive offerings even 800 years after its initial construction," says Pouls Wegner.

A much larger structure discovered is likely either a temple or royal chapel from the Ramesside Period. Long after its initial construction, the structure was re-used as a repository for animal mummies. In this context, the researchers found a mass of animal bones and linen fragments. Two cats, three sheep or goats, and at least 83 dogs, ranging in age from puppies to adults, were discovered. Several of the animals had recovered from injuries, suggesting that they had been cared for before they were sacrificed, probably for the jackal god Wepwawet, who was an important deity in the Osiris festival as the leader of the procession and protector of the cemetery.

The dig was conducted in Egypt in June and July 2011. It was supported by a research grant from the Wenner-Gren Foundation of Anthropological Research with photo and survey equipment provided by U of T's Archaeology Centre. Wegner's team included Ayman Damarany, Barakat 'Eid Ahmed and Mahmoud Mohamed of the Supreme Council of Antiquities of Egypt, archaeological illustrator Tamara Bower and U of T graduate students Meredith Brand, Amber Hutchinson, Christina Geisen and Janet Khuu.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Toronto. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Toronto. "Statue, chapels and animal mummies found in Egypt." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120312140250.htm>.
University of Toronto. (2012, March 12). Statue, chapels and animal mummies found in Egypt. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120312140250.htm
University of Toronto. "Statue, chapels and animal mummies found in Egypt." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120312140250.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sunken WWII U-Boat That Fired On U.S. Convoy Found

Sunken WWII U-Boat That Fired On U.S. Convoy Found

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) U-576, a long-lost German U-boat the U.S. sank in 1942, has been found just 30 miles off North Carolina's coast and near the wreckage of another ship. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Turns Out Jack The Ripper's True Identity Is Still Unknown

Turns Out Jack The Ripper's True Identity Is Still Unknown

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) After testing DNA from a shawl found near one of Jack the Ripper's victims, a scientist said he'd identified the killer. New reports refute the claim. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Fish Fossil Shows First-Ever Sex Was Done Side By Side

Fish Fossil Shows First-Ever Sex Was Done Side By Side

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) A 380-million-year-old fish may be the first creature to have copulative sex - and it was side by side with arms linked, like square dancers. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
As Sweden Hunts For Sub, "Cold War" Comparisons Flourish

As Sweden Hunts For Sub, "Cold War" Comparisons Flourish

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) With Sweden on the look-out for a suspected Russian sub, a lot of people are talking about the Cold War, but is it an apt comparison? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins