Archaeologists find world's oldest pet cemetery in Egypt

Cats, dogs, monkeys… a vast pet cemetery was found in 2011, in Berenice, Egypt. At nearly 2,000 years old, it's believed to be the oldest of its kind.

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Your pet might not be far from you as you read this. And that's convenient, since this article talks about its ancestors! A study published in January 2021 in the journal World Archeology reveals that archaeologists have discovered what would be the oldest 'pet cemetery' in the world.

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Cats, dogs and monkeys

This one is in Egypt, more precisely in Berenice, an old port located on the edge of the Red Sea and important trading post of ancient Egypt. The cemetery is said to have functioned between the middle of the 1st century and the middle of the 2nd century AD.

In total, it is nearly 585 graves have been discovered. Dogs,monkeys, but above all cats, which make up more than 90% of the place.

The research was carried out between 2011 and 2020. It reveals that the profiles of these animals were extremely varied. However, common elements were noted.

'We have old, sick and deformed animals that had to be fed and cared for by someone,' Osypińska told the Live Science site.

A resident worried about his cats

This proximity with Man turned out to be reflected in the composition of the graves. Unlike other animals buried in Egypt, those discovered in Berenice were not mummified. Rather, archaeologists have discovered animals buried together. Cats have even been found with iron collars, suggesting a clue of domestication.

Necklaces and pearls Marta Osypinska, Michal Skibniewski and Piotr Osypinski

Quite fascinating fact: Live Science states that an ostracon, a piece of ceramic with text, has been found. It was telling a cat owner not to worry about his felines since someone else was taking care of them, probably in his absence. The people of ancient Egypt ultimately did not live so differently than we do.

This discovery is a breakthrough in understanding the history of animal domestication.

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