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History Buff, a blog for history lovers everywhere! History Buff brings
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Early Egyptians Revered Lowly Donkeys
When archaeologists excavated brick tombs outside a ceremonial site for an early king of Egypt, they expected to find the remains of high officials who had been sacrificed to accompany the king in his posthumous travels.
PNAS/National Academy of Sciences: Abydos donkeys discovered within brick tombs in Eqypt.
Instead, they found donkeys.
No other animals have ever been found at such sites. Even at the tombs of the kings themselves, the only animals buried alongside were ones full of symbolism like lions.
But at this funerary complex, overlooking the ancient town of Abydos on the Nile about 300 miles south of Cairo, the archaeologists discovered the skeletons of 10 donkeys that had been buried as if they were high-ranking human officials.
“They were very surprised to find no humans and no funerary goods, and instead to find 10 donkeys,” said Fiona Marshall, a professor of archaeology at Washington University in St. Louis.
“It was just a spectacular discovery,” said Dr. Marshall, one of the few researchers in the world dedicated to understanding the history of donkeys. “It’s not exactly what an Egyptologist would expect to find.”