Ancient Egyptians bred birds as offering to the gods

London, Sep 4 (IANS) Three dimensional imaging of a mummified kestrel that died due to forced overeating provides evidence that the ancient Egyptians bred birds of prey and mummified them as offerings for the gods, says a new study

The digital CT (computer tomography) scans revealed that the kestrel was force-fed its last meal – a mouse – suggesting it was kept in captivity.

This is the first evidence to point to mass breeding of raptors as offerings to gods, said the study.

Animal mummies were common in ancient Egypt and used in religious ceremonies, often as offerings.

Millions of mummified animals have been found, most dating from around 600 BC to AD 250.

Ancient Egyptians believed in many gods and associated different animals with them; raptors like kestrels were connected to the sun god Ra.

“The idea of birds of prey being bred to the extent of being kept and force-fed is new,” said lead author of the study Salima Ikram, professor of egyptology at the American University in Cairo, Egypt.

“Until now, the sheer number of raptor mummies had been a mystery – did they catch or trap them and kill them, raid nests, or find them dead? Our results explain why they had so many: we now think it was because of active breeding,” Ikram said.

In ancient Egypt, birds used as votive offerings were prepared by being gutted and dried, then dipped into molten resin and wrapped.

However, sometimes the birds were not gutted, giving the researchers a chance to take a glimpse into one particular bird’s life before it died.

For the study, the researchers carried out a virtual autopsy on a bird mummy from Iziko Museums of South Africa in Cape Town.

The study was published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.

Leave a Reply

Please enter your comment!

The opinions, views, and thoughts expressed by the readers and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not reflect the opinions of or any employee thereof. is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the readers. Responsibility for the content of comments belongs to the commenter alone.  

We request the readers to refrain from posting defamatory, inflammatory comments and not indulge in personal attacks. However, it is obligatory on the part of to provide the IP address and other details of senders of such comments to the concerned authorities upon their request.

Hence we request all our readers to help us to delete comments that do not follow these guidelines by informing us at Lets work together to keep the comments clean and worthful, thereby make a difference in the community.

Please enter your name here