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Serapeum Serapeum
Photo courtesy of The Egypt Archive
One of the massive sarcophagi in the
underground passages of the Serapaeum.
It weighs an estimated 80 tons.

The Serapeum is where the catacombsWhat does it mean? of the ApisWho is this deity? bulls, the sacred animals of ancient Egyptians are buried. Apis was believed to be an incarnation of PtahWho is this deity? and hence was deified. After the death of an Apis bull, it was mummified and placed in a heavy sarcophagusWhat does it mean? in this subterranean cemetery.

The galleries were discovered by Auguste Mariette in 1850. He found several hundred meters of corridors beneath the ground with side chambers. Some of the chambers were containing sarcophagi that are as heavy as 80 tons. Sarcophagi were either made of black granite or diorite.

Image 1
Mariette found also in the cemetery the famous statue of the "squatting scribe." When he first entered the catacomb, he found the lids of sarcophagi tilted away and they were stripped of their contents. It is believed that prince Khaemweset, son of Ramesses II, was the one who began construction of the catacombs.

The Serapeum continued to be used as a burial for the sacred animals till the Greco-Roman era. The founder prince himself was even buried in the Serapeum perhaps because of his desire.
Old Photo 1

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