New discovery in Upper Egypt reveals ancient Osiris rituals

Nevine El-Aref , Wednesday 14 Mar 2012

Animal mummies found in Abydos shine light on religious rituals of ancient Egyptians

ushabti figurines

A team of archeologists from Toronto University has discovered a cache of animal mummies that reveal rituals carried out by ancient Egyptians for their god Osiris.

The team discovered the remains of three hall temples from the reign of King Seti I. One of them was filled with 83 mummified dogs, cats, sheep and goats over 2000-years-old.

Early ancient Egyptians buried their kings at the northern side of the Upper Egyptian town of Abydos because it was considered holy land. The god of the afterlife, Osiris, was buried there after being killed by his son Set, the god of the underworld. According to ancient Egyptian myth, his wife, the goddess Isis, reassembled his body and brought him back to life at Abydos and delivered their son Horus who killed his uncle Set. Osiris and his family were buried in Abydos where a huge temple dedicated to him was constructed as well as several chapels built by different ancient Egyptian kings.

Team leader Mary-Ann Pouls Wegner believes the animal cache was created in a later period than the temple and these animals were offerings for the god Osiris. The dog mummies could represent Wepwawet the ancient Egyptian jackal god who precedes Osiris, she added.

The Canadian team also uncovered an offering chapel and two tombs from the reign of King Thutmose III. A collection of clay and faience ushabti figurines (wooden statuettes) were also unearthed along with a royal wooden statue.

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