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What did Egyptian zombies eat? A new discovery provides clues

Discovery of funerary garden sheds insight into ancient Egyptian religious beliefs.

Archaeologists have discovered the first ever example of an Egyptian funerary garden. The existence of such gardens has long been suspected, but the find in Luxor is the first real example.

The Egyptians believed their dead would arise and look for food...

The Egyptians believed their dead would arise and look for food...

Highlights

LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) -- Archaeologists have known about funerary gardens for a long time. They have seen depictions of them at the entrances to tombs. However, no example of such a garden had ever been found until now.

Archaeologists digging in Luxor, Egypt, have uncovered their first genuine funerary garden. Laid out in a grid, the garden is thought to have been planted with a variety of symbolic plants. In addition to the planets, a bowl of fruits including dates was also found at the site, likely left as an offering.


The ancient Egyptians believed their dead would live again and took great pains to preserve and prepare their bodies for burial. They also left offerings so the deceased would not go hungry in the afterlife. It is likely that the gardens were planted with food offerings so the deceased would have something to eat, and possibly flowers and a shade tree.

The garden is now being excavated to determine exactly was planted in it. For the Egyptians, various plants had symbolic meanings. If it can be ascertained which kinds were planted, it will provide important insight into ancient Egyptian beliefs and rituals.

The garden dates back to about 2,000 years B.C., and was likely built during a time when Thebes (now Luxor) became the capital of the Egyptian civilization.

The garden is laid out in a grid with plants and shrubs planted to sustain the deceased in the afterlife.

The garden is laid out in a grid with plants and shrubs planted to sustain the deceased in the afterlife.


The garden is outside several tombs at the Luxor site.

The garden is outside several tombs at the Luxor site.


A bowl of fruit, including dates was left at the garden as an offering.

A bowl of fruit, including dates was left at the garden as an offering.


How the garden may have appeared.

How the garden may have appeared.


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