With tourism down, Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities went searching for intriguing artifacts to tempt visitors, and found them inside a tomb in what would have been the ancient city of Memphis.
— Ministry of Antiquities-Arab Republic of Egypt (@AntiquitiesOf) November 10, 2018
On Saturday, the ministry revealed that archaeologists found a 6,000-year-old tomb inside a cemetery filled with dozens of mummified cats, 100 wooden cat statues, a bronze bust of the ancient Egyptian cat goddess Bastet, and various other animal statues. The tomb, the ministry said, was excavated to "show the exceptional richness of the Egyptian civilization and to attract the attention of the world toward its magnificent monuments and great civilization so that it becomes the focus of the world as it deserves." Tourism has been down in the country since the Arab Spring.
Experts say that many ancient Egyptians, wanting to bring their animals with them to the afterlife, were buried with statues and mummified creatures. While cat mummies have been found before, this tomb stood out because it also contained mummified scarab beetles. Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, told Reuters the beetles are "really a bit rare. A couple of days ago, when we discovered those coffins, they were sealed coffins with drawings of scarabs. I have never heard about them before." Catherine Garcia