The Buried ‘Menageries’ of Ancient Egypt

Ancient Egypt is best known for its magnificent temples, splendid royal tombs, and vast cemeteries filled with human interments from all phases of its three-thousand-year history. Less well-known is the wide range of animals, from lions to lizards and baboons to beetles, that were buried in specially created cemeteries. Some species were bred in almost inconceivable numbers specifically to be despatched to order and mummified, before being laid to rest.

This lecture will offer an overview of this ancient Egyptian practice and the significant roles their ‘menagerie’ of animals played in religious beliefs.

Paul Whelan studied Ancient Egyptian and Near Eastern History at University College London and Egyptian Archaeology at the Institute of Archaeology UCL. His main research interests and topics of his numerous peer-reviewed published works focus on cult practices in ancient Egypt in the 2nd millennium BCE. He has run Egyptological courses for the universities of Reading and Oxford and lectured in the UK, USA, and Italy. He is a member of the advisory board of the prestigious Middle Kingdom Studies publication series and co-founder of the lecture and course provider Ta-wer Egyptology.

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