YOU think you have trouble clearing out accumulated old things to make room for new acquisitions?
The ancient priests of Antinous ... along with priests of many other deities ... couldn't just throw out statues, offerings and other artefacts that worshipers had donated to their temples. The objects had to be ritually blessed, deconsecrated and given burials befitting their sacred nature.
Very often, these caches of "discarded" artefacts survive to the present day ... as has happened at the Temple of Ptah at Karnak in Egypt.
Ironically, treasures which remained in the temple sanctuaries often ended up being looted by invaders, which the "discarded" artefacts remained intact for thousands of years in the "rubbish heap" under the temple.
For example, the photo at left shows the only known portrait of Khufu (or Cheops), the 4th Dynasty pharaoh who (allegedly) built the Great Pyramid at Giza, is a very tiny ivory figurine only 7 centimeters (3 inches) tall.
It was discovered covered in dried feces IN AN ANCIENT CESSPIT next to the temple of Seti at Abydos in Egypt.
We can only assume that, thousands of years ago, some harried novice priest "flushed it away" during routine spring cleaning to clear out old statuary to make room for new items.
After years of being washed, perfumed and fed in ancient Egypt, the statue of the revered Egyptian deity shown at the top of this page was given a proper burial with other "dead" statues more than 2,000 years ago.
Ancient Egyptians buried the statue of the deity Ptah ... the god of craftsmen and sculptors ... with other revered statues, including those of a sphinx, baboon, cat, Osiris and Mut, in a pit next to Ptah's temple.
The statue of Ptah had likely sat in the temple for years, but it and the other sacred objects were respectfully buried after they accumulated damage and were declared useless by the ancient Egyptians, the researchers said.
"We can consider that when a new statue was erected in the temple, this one [of Ptah] was set aside in a pit," said study co-researcher Christophe Thiers, director of the French-Egyptian Center for the Study of the Temples of Karnak.
"The other artifacts were also previously damaged during their 'lifetime' in the temple, and then they were buried with the Ptah statue."
Archaeologists discovered the pit in December 2014 at Karnak, an Egyptian temple precinct, and spent about a month excavating its rich assemblage.
The pit held 38 objects, including:
- Fourteen statuettes and figurines of Osiris.
- Eleven fragments of inlay from statues. The inlay included that of an iris, a cornea, a false beard, a cap, a strand of hair and an inlay plaque.
- Three baboon statuettes (representing the god Thoth).
- Two statuettes of the goddess Mut (one with hieroglyphic inscriptions).
- Two unidentified statuette bases.
- One head and one fragmentary statuette of a cat (Bastet).
- One small fragmentary faience stele (a stone slab) recording the name of the god Ptah.
- One head of a statuette of a man in gilded limestone.
- One lower part of a statue of the seated god Ptah, sawn and repaired.
- One sphinx.
- One unidentified metal piece.