Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Animal Mummy Coffins of Ancient Egypt

In ancient Egypt, the practice of mummifying animals became widespread in the first millenium B.C. Until the advent of Christianity, visitors to temples could buy animal mummy bundles as offerings to the gods. Wealthier pilgrims could also splurge on elaborate coffins shaped as creatures to hold these mummies, which ancient Egyptians probably believed represented the souls of the gods. Along with the sale of animal mummies, the production of lavish bronze and wooden coffins must have been an important source of revenue for temples.


The coffins below illustrate the wide array of animal forms taken by Egyptian gods. They will accompany 30 newly rediscovered animal mummies in The Brooklyn Museum's traveling exhibit Soulful Creatures:Animal Mummies in Ancient Egypt. The exhibit's catalogue is available at


Egypt Ibis Mummy Coffin



Epgyptian Cat Mummy Coffin


Egypt Hawk Mummy Coffin


Egypt Snake Mummy Coffin


Egypt Crocodile Mummy Coffin


Egypt Shrew Mummy Coffin