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Mummified bird, Egypt, 2000-100 BCE

The ancient Egyptians believed that some animals were sacred and revered them as earthly representatives of certain gods. Cats, crocodiles, baboons, cows and bulls were all considered sacred. At their death, the animals would have the same burial rites as people and so would be mummified. This mummy is a bird, about the size of a thrush. Some of the beak and wings can be seen through the cloth wrappings.

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Glossary: mummification

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Glossary: bird

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Glossary: mummy

A corpse which has been preserved through natural or artificial methods, often for religious reasons.