Archaeologists in Egypt discover mysterious ancient burial site containing a child with 142 dogs

Archaeologists in Egypt discover mysterious ancient burial site containing a child with 142 dogs

Image of the burial site at the Faiyum necropolis. Credit: Centre for Egyptological Research CEI RAS

A mysterious ancient burial site containing a child with 142 dogs has been discovered by archaeologists at the Faiyum Oasis necropolis in Egypt.

According to the website of the Centre for Egyptological Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences (CEI RAS), archaeologists in Egypt have found a mysterious burial site. It contained the skeleton of an eight-year-old child along with 142 dogs.

This incredible discovery was made in the Faiyum necropolis, west of the Nile River, some 62 miles south of Cairo. The oasis is surrounded by remains of several ancient villages located not far from the city of Crocodilopolis/Arsinoe which was dedicated to the crocodile god Sobek.

“A child of eight to nine years old was laid on top of the bodies of 142 dogs of different ages, mostly puppies (87 per cent)”, detailed the Academy. They estimated that the burial site belongs to the Roman period and dates from somewhere between the 1st century BC and the 1st century AD.

Previously, only one case of the burial of a child with dogs was known. This occurred: “on the territory of the elite necropolis of Hierakonpolis (HK6)”, according to the Russian Academy of Sciences.

“Burials like those discovered by the Centre’s specialists are not typical for Egypt. The mass burial of dogs may indicate a synthesis of religious and magical ideas of the Egyptians and foreigners living in Fayum, which gave rise to new forms of ritual practice”, the website continued.

This unusual find was also reported today, Wednesday, January 18, by the Heritage Daily. The news outlet stated that the remains of the animals were examined by zoologist Galina Belova. In her opinion, they all died at the same time. There are no signs of violence against them she emphasised.

A blue-coloured clay was present on the bodies of the dogs. This was apparently common in reservoirs in the times of Ancient Egypt. Perhaps there was a flood, and the animals drowned, the expert suggested.

Exactly why a child is in the grave is a mystery. Perhaps he looked after the dogs the publication offered. The fact that the baby had a linen bag on his head was confusing though.

As the Heritage Daily clarified, archaeologists previously found a grave at the same site in which a similar bag was also on the head of the deceased. It was believed at the time that the person buried in it, most likely, had been executed, as he had an arrow in the heart.


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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at