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 Museum Explorer

Gods and spirits in
Ancient Egypt

Mummy of a falcon

Length: 28.000 cm

EA 27388

Mummy of a falcon

From: Egypt
Date: Ptolemaic Period, 332-30 BC

The Egyptians often associated a god or goddess with a particular animal which shared the character of that god or goddess.  

From the Late Period it became popular to kill these animals, mummify them, and leave them in a special place near their god’s temple as a present for the god. Huge numbers of animals were bred specially for this purpose. The animal of the god Horus was the falcon and it is estimated that around 10,000 falcons and ibis (the bird of the god Thoth) were buried each year in underground burial chambers called catacombs at Saqqara alone. 

The birds were first dipped into hot liquid resin, then wrapped in bandages. They were then sold to visitors or pilgrims. This falcon has been wrapped with great care, and a bronze mask placed over his head.