Creatures of the Gods (03:19)
Scientists have been studying ancient mummies for 200 years and are still finding new evidence via modern technology. For 3,5000 years, Ancient Egyptians used sophisticated techniques of mummification, believing their spirits needed their bodies preserved as perfectly as possible to live again in the after life.
Embalming Animal Gods (03:04)
British archaeologist John Ray found tombs full of mummified animals in the ancient Egyptian city Saqqara. Writings preserved on pottery indicate the Egyptians believed the animals were gods or links to gods.
Animal Mummies (02:09)
In the 19th century, millions of mummies were found in the catacombs. Approximately 300,000 mummified cats were shipped to Liverpool, England and used for fertilization and fuel; they were thought to transmit cholera and death through curses. Advents in technology allow experts to collect information from mummified animals.
Ancient Egyptian Wildlife (03:19)
Ancestors of the Ancient Egyptians honored animals in life and death. The hot sands of shallow graves prevented bacterial growth and preserved bodies for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians domesticated wild animals and performed rudimentary veterinary techniques on their cattle.
Ancient Egyptian Gods (03:14)
Ray says that Ancient Egyptians were agricultural and believed that animals shared the world of the gods with humans. Their gods often took the shapes of animals. They worshiped live bulls, allowing them to live in luxury, before burying them in tombs.
Embalming Bodies (02:42)
The average lifespan of Ancient Egyptians was 30 years; the idea of coming to life again in another world was attractive. In the 1970s, scientists mummified rats to recreate the processes done by Ancient Egyptians.
Mummifying Practices (02:00)
Sometimes embalmers removed organs and dried them with natron. After 40 days, the bodies were wrapped in entirety. Pharaohs were transported to tombs at Saqqara.
Apis Bulls (02:38)
Around 150 years ago, a tomb dedicated to bulls was found in Ancient Egypt. Little evidence remains to explain the preparation of the bulls' bodies. The entrails would have been washed or teased out to prevent rotting.
Sacred Animal Burial Sites (02:28)
Ancient Egyptians devoted temples to gods and dedicated cemeteries to animals. Mummified animals dedicated to various gods are still housed in some Egyptian sites.
Egyptian Religion (02:39)
Saqqara, the burial place of the Apis bull and millions of mummified animals, is the most studied site. Egyptian religion regarded the universe as living, with everything in its place; the gods looked after all living things.
Rare Animal Mummies (02:07)
Some species of animals, like the griffon vulture, were preserved. Imported animals like monkeys were also mummified. Baboons were bred in Egypt and kept in inhumane conditions, forcing them into early death.
Egyptian and Animal Relations (04:22)
Skulls of the mothers of Apis bulls reveal that cows were kept alive after they had lost their teeth. A human and animal relations specialist identifies the cause of death for a mummified cat, strangulation. Some believe Ancient Egyptians cruelly killed a variety of animal species.
Corruption in Mummification (02:43)
Breeding, slaughtering, and mummifying animals was a lucrative industry in Ancient Egypt. Pots found in Saqqara without mummified animals indicates the business became corrupt.
Mummy Myths (03:36)
Scientists x-ray mummies to decipher illusions. The identify mud packed into the shape of a crocodile and a baboon once thought to be a mummified baby buried with a princess.
Secrets of the Grave (02:18)
Archaeologists discovered a humanoid looking mummy that was fashioned around a bird, and a human bone wrapped with linens to portray a cat.
Saqqara of the Past (03:18)
A row of temples and buildings devoted to sacred animals housed nearly 1,000 animals. In the marketplace, people created, sold, and purchased statues of gods, food, and drinks.
Cocaine or Contamination? (03:34)
Mummies were found with traces of nicotine and cocaine from South America. Did Ancient Egyptians have contact with South Americans 400 years before Christopher Columbus?
Credits: Animal Mummies - Egypt's Dark Secret (00:52)
Credits: Animal Mummies - Egypt's Dark Secret
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