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Between humanity and the gods: sacred animals and their place in popular religion at Saqqara

Nicholson, Paul ORCID: 2023. Between humanity and the gods: sacred animals and their place in popular religion at Saqqara. Journal of Ancient Egyptian Interconnections 38-39 , pp. 221-230.

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This study draws on recent work at North Saqqara and considers how the many thousands (arguably millions) of sacred animals buried there might have been procured, prepared, and presented to the deities concerned. Evidence from recent work suggests that the votive animals would have been required in huge numbers which must have had a significant impact on breeding populations and so might have required specialist breeding institutions. The production and dedication of items of material culture such as votive bronze figurines and situlae as well as wooden figurines is considered as part of what might legitimately be described as the “visitor experience” of those engaging with the cults at Saqqara. An image of Saqqara as a vibrant center of religious life for ordinary individuals from the local area and beyond can be suggested. The study speculates on how much visitors—who might be considered as “pilgrims” —to the site knew about the operation of the cults and the ways in which the animals might have been procured as well as what their experience of Saqqara and their expectation of the animal and other dedications might have been.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
Publisher: University of Arizona
ISSN: 1944-2815
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 9 November 2021
Date of Acceptance: 29 September 2021
Last Modified: 23 Nov 2023 15:02

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