Egypt unveils animal mummies of lion cubs, crocodiles, birds

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Cat statues that were found inside a cache, at the Saqqara area near its necropolis, are pictured in Giza, Egypt, Nov. 23, 2019. (Reuters)
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Mummified cats statues that were found inside a cache, at the Saqqara area near its necropolis, are pictured in Giza, Egypt, Nov. 23, 2019. (Reuters)
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Dr. Waziri shows ambassadors an image of CT-scan in Saqqara, south Giza, Egypt on Nov. 23, 2019. The CT-scan revealed that the mummies for 95 percent belong to lion cubs according to the size and shape of the bones of the mummies. (AP)
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Carved statues of goddess Neith wearing the crown of Lower Egypt is displayed in Saqqara, south Giza, Egypt on Nov. 23, 2019. (AP)
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73 bronze statuettes depicting god Osiris are displayed in Saqqara, south Giza, Egypt on Nov. 23, 2019. (AP)
Updated 24 November 2019

Egypt unveils animal mummies of lion cubs, crocodiles, birds

  • Egypt unveiled a cache of 75 wooden and bronze statues and 5 lion cub mummies decorated with hieroglyphics
  • Mummified cats, cobras, crocodiles and scarabs were also unearthed among the well-preserved mummies and other objects discovered recently

SAQQARA, Egypt: Egypt’s Ministry of Antiquities on Saturday revealed details on recently discovered animal mummies, saying they include two lion cubs as well as several crocodiles, birds and cats.
Items from the new find were displayed at a makeshift exhibition at the famed Step Pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara, south of Cairo, near where mummies and other artifacts have been found in a vast necropolis.
“We are finding here hundreds of objects,” said Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Anany. “All of them are very interesting from the Egyptological point of view to know better this area.”
The Saqqara plateau hosted at least 11 pyramids, including the Step Pyramid, along with hundreds of tombs of ancient officials, ranging from the 1st Dynasty (2920 B.C.-2770 B.C.) to the Coptic period (395-642).
Mostafa Waziri, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, told reporters that local archaeologists found a cache that includes hundreds of mummified animals, birds and crocodiles.
He said that among the mummified animals were two lion cubs and radar scans were needed on three others to determine that the mummies were also lions.
Archaeologists frequently find mummified cats but the recovery of a lion is rare. In 2004, the first lion skeleton was found in Saqqara, revealing the sacred status of the animal in ancient times.
Archaeologists also found wooden and bronze cat statues representing the ancient goddess Bastet and a rare large stone scarab, which Waziri described as “the largest all over the world.”
They also displayed two mummies of ichneumon, or the Egyptian mongoose, wrapped in linen bandages and wooden and tin-glazed statuettes of the goddess Sekhmet, represented as a woman with the head of a lioness. Scholars say Sekhmet (1390-1252 B.C.) was a goddess of war and the destroyer of the enemies of the sun god Re.
There were also strips of papyrus with depictions of the goddess Taweret depicted as a hippopotamus with the tail of a crocodile.
Markings on the displayed artifacts show that they date back to the Late Period (664-332 B.C.).
The Saqqara discovery is the latest in a series of new finds that Egypt has sought to publicize in an effort to revive its key tourism sector, which was badly hit by the turmoil that followed the 2011 uprising that toppled longtime autocrat Hosni Mubarak.


Arab movies to debut at Toronto International Film Festival

Updated 03 August 2020

Arab movies to debut at Toronto International Film Festival

DUBAI: Organizers of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) have released a new lineup of 50 movies for screening at this year’s event including a number of Arabic flicks.

Egyptian filmmaker Mayye Zayed’s “Ash Ya Captain” (“Lift Like a Girl”), an intimate journey into the life of an aspiring athlete, will premiere at the 45th edition of the festival, due to take place between Sept. 10 and 20.

Also featured will be Palestinian filmmaking twins Tarzan and Arab Nasser’s “Gaza Mon Amour,” a satire on love and desire. The brothers’ second feature film, it tells the tale of a 60-year-old fisherman who is secretly in love with a market dressmaker. As the story unfolds, the fisherman discovers an ancient Greek statue that will trouble him.

British director Ben Sharrock’s “Limbo” will see Egyptian-British actor Amir El-Masry star as a Syrian asylum-seeker who finds himself living on a small Scottish island.

Egyptian-British actor Amir El-Masry stars in British director Ben Sharrock’s “Limbo.” (Toronto International Film Festival)

Meanwhile, American director Spike Lee’s film version of David Byrne’s hit Broadway show “American Utopia” will open at the event which will be capped off by American-Indian director Mira Nair’s “A Suitable Boy.”

In addition, there will be showings of Iranian directors Manijeh Hekmat’s “Bandar Band” and Farnoosh Samadi’s “180 Degree Rule.”

Most screenings will take place virtually due to government restrictions imposed to stop the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak.

Cameron Bailey, TIFF’s artistic director, said in a released statement: “We began this year planning for a festival much like our previous editions, but along the way we had to rethink just about everything.

“This year’s line-up reflects that tumult. The names you already know are doing brand-new things this year, and there’s a whole crop of exciting new names to discover.”

The full schedule of the festival will be released on Aug. 25.