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Photos: Canine Catacomb Was Tribute to Ancient Death God

The ancient Egyptian catacomb honoring Anubis, the jackal-headed god of death and funerals, once held 8 million mummified dogs, according to a new study, which is the first to thoroughly investigate the underground tomb. Researchers also found a fossilized marine vertebrate on the ceiling of the catacomb, as well as other mummified animals, such as cats and mongoose. It's likely that animal cults helped fuel the ancient economy, the researchers said. (Photo Credit: Copyright Antiquity Trust) [Read the full story on the dog catacomb]

Egyptian map

A map showing the location of the burial grounds at Saqqara in the ancient capital of Memphis.

Burial plots

A map of North Saqqara showing where the ancient Egyptians built the animal catacombs. Notice the ibis, baboon and hawk catacombs in the northern part of the map. The dog catacomb is near the temple in the eastern part of the map. (Drawing by J. Hodges) 

Canine catacomb

A new survey of the dog catacomb overlaid on top of a 1897 map drawn by French archaeologist Jacques de Morgan (seen in gray). The small catacomb on the right is inaccessible due to shifting sands and a 1992 earthquake that hit the region. (New layout by S. Mills, S. Williams and H. Nouwens)

Underground work

A photo showing the main axial aisle of the underground canine catacomb. Ancient Egyptians built the catacomb for the animal cult of Anubis, the god of death and funerals. (Photo credit: P.T. Nicholson)


The ancient remains of a complete canine mummy in an undisturbed section of the catacomb. (Photo credit: P.T. Nicholson)

Broken box

The remains of a wooden coffin in the catacomb that still has parts of the mummy within it. (Photo credit: P.T. Nicholson)

Adult doggy

The head and neck of an adult dog from the catacomb. (Photo credit: P.T. Nicholson)

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Laura Geggel
As an associate editor for Live Science, Laura Geggel covers general science, including the environment, archaeology and amazing animals. She has written for The New York Times, Scholastic, Popular Science and Spectrum, a site covering autism research. Laura grew up in Seattle and studied English literature and psychology at Washington University in St. Louis before completing her graduate degree in science writing at NYU. When not writing, you'll find Laura playing Ultimate Frisbee.