In 2015, researchers from Cardiff University in Wales discovered over eight mummified million dogs as a sacrifice to Egyptian god Anubis. Today, people treat dogs as human’s best friend. But centuries ago, they were believed to act as bridges to the afterlife. According to an article by ArtNet News, the world’s first dedicated 24-hour global art market newswire, ancient people thought that dogs can communicate with Anubis on the human’s behalf.
|Photo Credit: All That's Interesting|
Paul Nicholson, the project’s director said, “It’s not some sort of blood sacrifice. It’s a religious act that’s done for the best possible motive. Maybe you’re hoping that the animal will help someone in your family who has died recently (so that) Anubis will take care of that (relative).” Anubis, the Egyptian god of death, was believed to oversee and judge the worthiness of a person’s soul in the afterlife. He is portrayed as a black canine or a muscular man with the head of a black jackal. Anubis is a Greek word which means a “royal child” and “to decay.”
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All That’s Interesting reported that the image of Anubis was borne as an interpretation of stray dogs and jackals that had the tendency to dig up and scavenge freshly buried corpses. Thus, dogs began to be tied to the concept of death.
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Centuries ago, the shrines of Anubis were scattered across the country because people believed that the Egyptian god plays an important role for them to achieve eternal life. Most of his temples are tombs and cemeteries which contain the remains of animals, not humans. It was believed that sacred animals were the manifestations of the gods that they represented. Thus, the underground tunnel systems called Dog Catacombs were built. These contain mummified dogs and other canines, such as jackals and foxes, which aims to honor Anubis.