A team from the University of Toronto has discovered the remains of 80 animal mummies during an excavation in Abydos, Egypt;the remains included those of dogs, puppies, sheep, goats and cats.

The researchers also uncovered a wooden statue of a king, a private offering chapel and a monumental building; they say the discovery offers an important insight into the ritual activity of the past in Egypt.

The discoveries, which were made during a 2011 dig, were recently  presented to the Society for the Study of Egyptian Antiquities by Professor Mary-Ann Pouls Wegner of the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations.

Researchers say that the statue of the king could depict the female pharaoh  Hatshepsut,  and they believe the statue may have been used during ceremonial processions which were common in ancient Egypt.

It is estimated that the chapel which was discovered dates from 1990 – 1650 BC.  Commenting in a press release, Professor Pouls Wegner said:

“The offering chapel proves that people – probably elites – were able to build monuments right next to the processional route in the Middle Kingdom, and that at least one such chapel was allowed to stand in this increasingly densely built-up area and continued to receive offerings even 800 years after its initial construction.”

During the dig, a much larger building was also discovered and the researchers state that this is most likely to have been a royal temple or chapel dating back to the Ramesside Period.

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