An excavation of hundreds of animal remains at a site along Egypt’s Red Seacoast has revealed the world’s oldest pet cemetery, according to a report.
The nearly 2,000-year-old burial ground at the Berenice port in southernEgypt, held the complete remains of more than 500 cats, nearly three dozendogs, 15 monkeys, a fox and a falcon, Live Science reported.
None of the animals in the cemetery were mummified and there was no evidenceof deliberate killing as was common in ancient Egypt as a sacrifice to thegods. Many of the animals had made it to old age or had deformities ordiseases that did not make them useful as mousers or hunters and would haverequired human care.
Watch the latest video at foxnews.com Some of the pets were also buriedwearing “precious and exclusive” iron-made collars or beaded necklaces.
“One clear characteristic feature” of the cemetery “was the intentionalplacement of [an] animal in a sleep-like position,” Osypińska wrote, addingthat many of the animals clearly had no “utilitarian” function because theywere miniature dogs, macaques or were disabled, sick or older animals.
“Both the careful preparation of the burials, the remains of their diet andincontrovertible evidence of the human care of disabled individuals draws usto the conclusion that dogs, cats and monkeys enjoyed close emotionalrelationships and deliberate care,” she wrote.
“Merchants came here to bring exclusive goods to the empire,” she told LiveScience. “What they took on such a long and difficult journey: a beloved dog,or they [had] a monkey brought from India, or kept cats.”
Some of the animals were wrapped in blankets or makeshift coffins and otherswere accompanied by items like large vessels or dishes.
Osypińska told Live Science that a piece of ceramic with a note on it – an“ancient text message” – found at the site told a cat owner not to worry aboutthe pets while they were away (when the pets were still alive) because someoneelse for taking care of them.
The cemetery was established in the first century A.D. during the country’searly Roman period. Berenice at the time was an important port and tradingpost between Egypt and other parts of the world.
The study said the burial ground had “ambiguous” cultural rules, which were“not very” Egyptian or Roman.
The cemetery at the archaeological site, which has been excavated for years asan ancient Egyptian dump, was found by accident in 2011 and Osypińska becameinvolved after archaeologists first started finding the pet graves. Theirresearch was finished last year.
Image: Archaeologists have discovered remains of monkey burials in anancient animal cemetery in the Red Sea port of Berenice in Egypt, wereimported as pets from India 2000 years ago. Each of the monkey burials wasarranged like “sleeping babies” and placed on their side.
Source: Fox News
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