Gifts for the Gods

BookGifts for the Gods

Gifts for the Gods

Ancient Egyptian Animal Mummies and the British


October 7th, 2015





Gifts for the Gods is an enlightening and richly illustrated book on animal mummies from ancient Egypt. Introducing readers to the wealth of animal mummies in British museums and private collections, this fascinating collection focuses on the prevalent type of animal mummy to be found in Britain: the votive offering.

In a series of chapters written by experts in their field, Gifts for the Gods details the role of animals in ancient Egypt and in museum collections. It concentrates on the unique relationship of British explorers, travellers, archaeologists, curators and scientists with this material. The book describes a best-practice protocol for the scientific study of animal mummies by the Ancient Egyptian Animal Bio Bank team, whilst acknowledging that the current research represents only the beginning of a much larger task.

1. Concentrates on the role of the British in the discovery, collection, curation and scientific study of animal mummies. 2. Logical, thematic layout as opposed to a series of essays. 3. Fresh scientific analysis on animal mummies in museum collections by experts in their respective fields. Hopefully gives interested people the background information enabling them to embark on their own study of this material. 4. Focuses on a research project, rather than an individual collection of species as has previously been the case. 5. Takes into account the social histories and post-excavation histories of artefacts which have since become dispersed around the world. We give the stories of their discovery and those of the people who brought the objects to Britain.


'Gifts for the Gods presents an important contribution to a field of study which, although it has long intrigued early travellers and collectors, was thought to be of little scientific interest to early archaeologists. It also provides new and useful information on the history of the collection and study of animal mummies in the British context.  This book and the work conducted by the authors for the accompanying exhibition is very much on point for modern research interests but is also well worth a read for those with an interest in the preparation, deposition, rediscovery and collections of these fascinating yet often under-studied relics of ancient Egypt.'
ASTENE Bulletin

Author Information

Lidija M. McKnight is Research Associate, University of Manchester. Stephanie Atherton-Woolham is Research Associate, University of Manchester.