A team of archaeologists has made a surprising discovery while examining an ancient Egyptian catacomb.
The researchers unearthed more than 8 million mummified dogs buried inside the catacomb.
The unusual animal tomb was found under the same ground of the oldest Egyptian pyramid.
According to the experts these catacombs were made to pay homage to the god of dogs Anubis.
The tombs date back to the Ptolemaic Period (B.C.E 332-30), a period when Egypt was ruled by Greece.
The catacombs are located in the northeast of the pyramid in Saqqara.
Ancient Egyptians mummified their people in order to preserve the bodies for the afterlife.
They often buried humans along with their pets and worldly possessions. The catacombs were built so that visitors could come and pay respects for their loved ones.
The visitors would often bring statues and vases to leave as offerings for the dead.
The area where the 8 million mummified dogs were found, while known by the local people, has not been very explored by the archaeologists.
There is a map of the canine catacomb created in 1897, but experts could not follow it because its lack of details.
A team of archaeologists from Cardiff University’s School of History decided to examine the ancient resting place.
According to the researchers, the catacombs help them reconstruct how the monument was developed and how it was later used.
They believe that in the late 19th century and the beginning of the 20th centuries the burial site was explored for the mummies. The experts assume that the mummies were taken from the tombs and used for making fertilizers.
Among the multitude of artifacts and statues, the archaeologists estimate there are more than 8 million mummified dogs inside the catacombs.
According to their analysis, most of the canines were very young at the time of death, with many of them only newborns.
The researchers said further research is needed in order to determine when the structure was built.
Inside the catacomb, the researchers also found the fossil of a prehistoric marine creature that lived more than 48 million years ago.
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