World’s oldest pet cemetery found on Red Sea coast in Egypt

CREDIT: P. Osypiński / Steven E. Sidebotham Warsaw University

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have found what could be the oldest pet cemetery in the world in Egypt.

A team led by archaeologist Marta Osypinska, from the Polish Academy of Sciences, has uncovered the ancient remains of 585 animals, 90 per cent of them cats on Egypt’s Red Sea coast, according to reports in National Geographic.

There are also dogs and baboons, buried during the 1st and 2nd centuries AD at the site of the ancient Roman port of Berenice.

Archaeologists have been excavating this site for about 10 years according to the Polish archaeology magazine of the University of Warsaw.

Many died of natural causes and old age, indicating, according to Osypinska, that they were treated “like part of the family” by the Ancient Egyptians, who saw in them a reflection of the gods. Some died without teeth, which shows that they would have had to be fed in a special way.

In some cases accessories have been found alongside the remains, such as an iron collar with glass beads.

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Jennifer Leighfield

Jennifer Leighfield, born in Salisbury, UK; resident in Malaga, Spain since 1989. Degree in Translation and Interpreting in Spanish, French and English from Malaga University (2005), specialising in Crime, Forensic Medicine and Genetics. Published translations include three books by Richard Handscombe. Worked with Euro Weekly News since November 2006. Well-travelled throughout Spain and the rest of the world, fan of Harry Potter and most things ‘geek’.


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