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World’s oldest pet cemetery found in Egypt

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Archaeologists in Egypt have found the oldest animal burial ground ever recorded – nearly 2,000 years.

Scientists found remains of cats and monkeys still wearing necklaces chained with shell, glass, and stone decorations on the outskirts of the Red Sea port of Berenice

The interesting thing is that unlike some mummified animals that were buried elsewhere, sometimes from starvation or with a broken neck, none of the creatures in this cemetery show signs of abuse, so they can be considered pet animals.

“we have old, sick and deformed animals that had to be fed and looked after by someone,” says Marta Osypińska, the study’s lead researcher.

“We have animals (almost all of them) that are buried very carefully. The animals are placed in a sleeping position, sometimes wrapped in a blanket, sometimes covered with plates,” explained the anthropologist.

“So we thought that in Berenice the animals weren’t sacrifices to the gods, they were just pets,” concluded Osypińska.

The truth is that archaeologists discovered the pet cemetery, which dates back to the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. During the early Roman period of Egypt, by accident. For years, researchers have excavated the outskirts of Berenice because it houses an ancient dump, full of garbage from Egyptian society.

It was 2011 when archaeologists began to find small animal remains in one area and Osypińska, who specializes in zooarchaeology, took the reins.

Of the 585 animals that excavated: 536 are cats; 32 dogs; 15 monkeys; one fox; one hawk.

None of the animals were mummified, but some were placed in makeshift coffins, which indicates the study published in World Archeology.

Many scholars argue that the ancient world did not have the concept of “pets,” but “our discovery shows that humans have a deep need for the companionship of animals,” Osypińska said.

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