Nov. 23 (UPI) — Egyptian authorities on Saturday unveiled a public display of mummified animals in Cairo, near the Saqqara necropolis where they were discovered.
Last year archaeologists found a cache of mummified cats, crocodiles, cobras and birds in an ancient necropolis near the Step Pyramid of Saqqara, south of the capital.
The cache included five animals that, according to the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities, are very likely lion cubs.
An announcement on the ministry’s Facebook page said a CT-scan revealed that, based on the size and shape of the bones, they are 95 percent certain they belong to lion cubs, but “more studies will be carried out.”
Egyptian minister of antiquities Khaled al-Anany told reporters Saturday that if the mummies are fully confirmed to be lion cubs, it would mark the first time lion cub mummies — rather than skeletons — have ever been found.
In addition to mummified animals, the display includes artifacts such as sculptures, wooden boxes and several scarab amulets, as well as a collection of papyri decorated with drawings of the Egyptian goddess Tawert.
Situated about 18 miles south of Cairo, Saqqara is an ancient burial ground that served as the cemetery for the city of Memphis, which was Egypt’s capital for more than 2,000 years. Archaeologists say Saqqara was an active burial ground for about 3,000 years.