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Discovery of 9 mysterious crocodile heads in ancient Egyptian tombs astonish archaeologists

Nine crocodiles heads have been recently found in two ancient Egyptian tombs which belong to a period when the reptile was worshiped as a God Sobek (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@blacknoteshub)

An extraordinary discovery has been made in Egypt recently. A team of archaeologists have found heads of nine crocodiles in an ancient tomb and these have been buried for millennia.

As per a report in artnews.com, it was a team from the University of Warsaw’s Center of Mediterranean Archaeology that made this find when they were excavating the Theban Necropolis – the Upper Egypt’s ancient burial site. The archaeologists working there were led by Patryk Chudzik.

The remains of the nine crocs were found hidden inside two tombs that belonged to high-ranking officials. These officials belonged to the New Kingdom of Egypt which flourished between 16th Century BCE and 11th Century BCE.

Details of this “one of a kind” find have been published in the Journal of African Archaeology.

Chudzik’s team of experts and scholars had been investigating the two tombs in the necropolis since 2013. While one belonged to a dignitary who lived during the period when Pharaoh Nebhepetra Mentuhotep II ruled between 2055 BCE and 2002 BCE, the second one is said to be that of an anonymous servant who held relatively a high status in the royal court.

All together both the tombs have yielded nine skulls belonging to a crocodile variant which is native of Egypt’s freshwater habitats. They were covered in linen and what is very pertinent is that they lacked any form of preservation.

Theban Necroplis
Theban Necropolis from where the crocodile heads were discovery (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@ArkeoNews)

Talking to Arkeonews, Chudzik said: “This is a completely unusual discovery and the first of its kind in the history of research in Egypt. We know of many crocodile mummies that have been found along the Nile. They are all mummies of whole crocodiles that have been deposited in specially prepared catacombs of sacred animals, in this case, crocodiles or sacred animals of the god Sobek.”

What is really notable as per Chudzik is that it is unprecedented that only the heads were found in the tomb and not the complete crocodile and that too without being mummified. It was also uncommon for the animals to be buried with human beings instead of sacred animals’ catacombs.

In ancient Egypt crocs were treated as sacred as they were vessels of the God Sobek who was associated with the Nile, military might and fertility. This God had a large following throughout the three periods of Pharaonic Egypt. It was during the Middle Kingdom which was 2055 BEC to 1650 BCE, that it reached its peak.

Amenemhat III, the 12th Dynasty Pharaoh commissioned building of dedicated cultic sites to Sobek.

Having made this unusual find, Chudzik feels that more research needs to be done in order to unravel the mystery of the buried crocodile heads.