SAQQARA, Egypt – A senior Egyptian antiquarian official says local archaeologists have discovered seven pharaonic tombs near the capital of Cairo containing dozens of mummies of cats along with wooden statues of other animals and birds.
Mostafa Waziri told reporters on Saturday that the discovery at Saqqara also includes mummies of beetles, the first ever found in the area.
Of the statues found, those depicting cats were the majority, reflecting the veneration that the ancient Egyptians showed to the cats, of which the god Bastet was worshiped. Other statues depicted a lion, a cow and a hawk.
Egypt has mobilized advertising for its new historical discoveries in hopes of reviving a devastated tourism sector that is still recovering from the turmoil after a 2011 uprising that overthrew the long-time autocrat Hosni Mubarak.
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