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For most people mummies are synonymous with Egypt. However, it is less well known that the ancient Egyptians mummified animals as well as humans. For the ancient Egyptians, the act of mummification ensured that the body of a creature would be preserved for forever, and thus conferred the potential for eternal life upon it. Throughout history, however, animal mummies, like their human counterparts, had little value as artefacts. Indeed, they were used as ballast for ships, as fertilizer (Maspero 1912: 272), as fuel, and as medicine in powdered form (Ikram and Dodson 1998: 72). Despite these vicissitudes, many animal mummies have survived, and are now valued as sources of information on the culture and environment of ancient Egypt.
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