Monkeys From India Buried in Egypt Shed Light on Bizarre Ancient Roman Practices

Researchers revealed that elite Romans from Egypt have brought these monkeys from India to expand their range of exotic pets

A Roman era burial
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Ancient Egypt was home to a glorious culture, and people used to keep a wide range of exotic pets in their homes. Most of these animals were bred and raised by Egyptians as sacrificial offerings to Egyptian gods. However, around 2,000 years ago, the Roman Empire took control of Egypt, and from then, several bizarre practices were observed in the region.

Monkey Buried Like a Child

Recently, a team of archeologists from Poland has uncovered the skeletons of monkeys that were buried with utmost care and attention. Researchers who took part in this study believe that this exotic pet was brought to Egypt from India.

Researchers found that the monkeys were buried with a great deal of care, and some of them were laid to rest with their hands by their heads, just like a sleeping child. Interestingly, researchers found that one of the monkeys was covered with a woolen blanket. Adding up to the mysteries, another monkey was found buried with some exotic shells from the Indian ocean.

Dr Marta Osypińskia, Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology Polish Academy of Sciences, revealed that Romans who lived in Egypt had kept monkeys, cats, and dogs as mascots in their kingdom.

Rhesus Macaques in Egypt

Initially, scientists who took part in this study were not able to identify the species of monkeys that were buried in Egypt, as most of them were very young at the time of their death. Later, using modern technology, scientists determined that these monkeys were actually Rhesus macaques.

Even though Romans in Egypt had the resources to bring monkeys from India, they failed to nurture these creatures. Researchers believe that the lack of fresh fruit might be one of the reasons behind the death of these exotic pets.

"This is an absolutely unique find. So far, no one has found Indian monkeys in archaeological sites in Africa. Interestingly, ancient written sources are also silent about this practice. Unfortunately, after arriving in Berenice the monkeys could not acclimatize and all died very young," said Osypińskia, Express reports.