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Sacred animals at Saqqara

Nicholson, Paul T. ORCID: 2022. Sacred animals at Saqqara. Heritage 5 (2) , 1240. 10.3390/heritage5020064

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Saqqara, the necropolis of the first capital city of a unified Egypt, is best known today for the Step Pyramid of Pharaoh Djoser (2667–2648 B.C.). However, the Step Pyramid is only the most visible feature of this great burial site, and the tombs of many thousands of individuals are hidden beneath the sands, some excavated, others not. These human burials are only a part of Saqqara’s funerary history. This paper examines the catacombs of the numerous animals revered by the Egyptians at Saqqara and whose burial places have come to be known collectively as ‘The Sacred Animal Necropolis’ (SAN). First amongst these, both in importance and inception, was the Apis bull, the living image (ba) of Ptah, creator god of Memphis. However, it was the work conducted by Professor W.B. Emery (1903–1971) which brought to light the burial place of the Mother of the Apis as well as those for ibises, falcons, and baboons and which has provided much of what we know of the Sacred Animal Necropolis at North Saqqara. More recent work has built upon the discoveries made by Emery and others and taken a new approach to these subterranean catacombs for sacred animals.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Additional Information: This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publisher: MDPI
ISSN: 2571-9408
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 13 June 2022
Date of Acceptance: 2 June 2022
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 21:24

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