Mummified animal, Falcon, Ancient Egypt

Production date
0310 BCE-0290 BCE
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Object detail

Falcon, mummified. Wrapped in coarse linen, impregnated with tarry substance. X-rays indicate the complete skeleton of a bird are present inside the wrappings.
ARCHAEOLOGY Egyptian mummified hawk
Production date
0310 BCE-0290 BCE
Production place
L342mm x W85mm
Media/Materials description
Bone (Animal Remains)
Common or European kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)
Sparrowhawk (Accipoter nisus)
Feathers (Animal Remains)
Linen (cloth)
History and use
In ancient Egypt, a wide variety of animals were mummified, ranging from mice to bulls and even large scarab beetles. Cats, dogs, snakes, baboons and birds were the most popular mummified animals, usually bought as offerings to particular gods. Hence, a cat may be offered to Bastet, and ibis to Thoth, or a falcon to Horus.

The 'industry' of producing mummified animal offerings to the gods began around 3000 BC, and reached its peak in the Late Period. Mummified animals were kept in necropoles, which were associated with tombs or cult centres of gods. Once each area was full of burials it was sealed. This mummified falcon is believed to date to te Ptolemaic Period (305-30 BC).
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