Bizarre never-before-seen ritual uncovered in Egyptian temple

Archaeologists are puzzled over a strange ritual uncovered inside an ancient Egyptian temple.

The temple is located inside a religious complex at a former seaport city called Berenike.

Inside, scientists found a shrine surrounded by 15 mummified falcons – most of them having been beheaded.

While the discovery of dead birds isn’t unique within tombs, the finding of so many is unusual.

What’s more, some eggs were also found with some of the birds arranged around the shrine.

The reason behind the headless falcons is unknown, but it is believed to be a result of some kind of religious ritual practiced by a tribe of people who inhabited the region at one point.

From the fourth to sixth centuries, Berenike was partially occupied by the Blemmyes, a nomadic group of people from the Nubian region who at that moment were expanding their domains throughout the greater part of Egypt’s Eastern desert.

The complex provides clear evidence of a link with these people, thanks to the discover of inscriptions to some of their kings that have also been found.

Professor Joan Oller Guzmán, from the Department of Antiquity and Middle Age Studies at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, explained: ‘All of these elements point to intense ritual activities combining Egyptian traditions with contributions from the Blemmyes, sustained by a theological base possibly related to the worshipping of the god Khonsu.’

‘The discoveries expand our knowledge of these semi-nomad people, the Blemmyes, living in the Eastern desert during the decline of the Roman Empire.’

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