Archaeologists from New York University have unearthed over 2,000 mummified ram heads in the ancient Egyptian city of Abydos. Located about 275 miles (442 km) south of Cairo, Abydos is one of Egypt's most important archaeological sites. It is home to numerous tombs, monuments, and temples.
Dr. Sameh Iskandar and his team found the skulls inside a previously undiscovered storage building. It was located in the northern part of an ancient temple built in honor of Ramses II. The powerful pharaoh ruled Egypt from 1279 BCE to 1213 BCE. Some of the rams' heads are still covered in bandages and are partially preserved. But the majority are fleshless skulls.
"We came across some random pieces of skulls first," Dr. Iskandar said. "We didn't know what they were, but as we continued our excavation and exploration, all of [a] sudden, we found a whole area filled with ram skulls."
The scientists also found skeletons of wild goats, dogs, cows, and deer in the area. The animal remains date back to about 1,000 years after Ramses II ruled Egypt. They were most likely left as offering to the much-revered pharaoh in the afterlife.
The excavations also led to the discovery of another previously unknown building near the temple. The researchers believe it dates back to Egypt's sixth dynasty (2323 BCE to 2150 BCE). This is about 1,100 years before Ramses II ruled Egypt. The structure had unusually thick walls and contained a number of historic relics. They include statues, stone slabs, and even the remains of a tree. The artifacts will provide new insights into the activities and architecture of the city of Abydos during that era.
Resources: LiveScience.com, CNN.com, Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities/ Facebook