According to the BBC, archaeologists have discovered mummified cats and scarab beetles in tombs recently found near Cairo, Egypt.
According to the BBC:
The finds, dating back more than 4,000 years, were made at Saqqara, south of Cairo. The vast burial ground served the city of Memphis – ancient Egypt’s capital for 2,000 years.
…The newly found tombs lie in a buried ridge that has only partially been excavated. Experts say it could offer many more discoveries.
Ancient Egyptians believed that cats held a special place in the afterlife, which is why they were treated with such respect.
It was common for mummified humans to also have trinkets and other items that they might need in the afterlife.
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Further work at the site in Saqqara is planned. Archaeologists found the door to another tomb that remains sealed and they plan to open it in the coming weeks.
Scarabs were also held in high regard in Ancient Egypt, and may have symbolized the sun god (Ra). The discovery of scarabs was “something really a bit rare”.
One of the tombs also contained a statue of a cat goddess, Bastet:
Bast was originally a fierce lioness warrior goddess of the sun throughout most of ancient Egyptian history, but later she was changed into the cat goddess that is familiar today, becoming Bastet. Even later, Greeks occupying ancient Egypt toward the end of its civilization changed her into a goddess of the moon.
As protector of Lower Egypt, Bast, she was seen as defender of the pharaoh, and consequently of the later chief male deity, Ra. Along with the other lioness goddesses, she would occasionally be depicted as the embodiment of the Eye of Ra. She has been depicted as fighting the evil snake named Apep, an enemy of Ra.
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