Mysterious Crocodile Heads Discovered in Ancient Tomb


| LAST UPDATE 01/04/2023

By Amie Alfaro
Sobek Ancient Egyptian God
Universal History Archive/Contributor via Getty Images

A team of archaeologists uncovered something quite mysterious in the ancient Egyptian burial site Theban Necropolis. They found nine crocodile heads during their excavations. Here's a closer look.

Crocodiles were considered sacred in ancient Egypt. They were considered vessels for the Egyptian god Sobek, who was depicted with a crocodile head. Sobek was often associated with fertility and was thought of as the creator of the Nile. Many ancient Egyptians believed that he created order in the universe and was seen as an unpredictable deity by them. The archaeologists found the nine heads inside two tombs that belonged to high-ranking officials. The officials lived during Egypt’s New Kingdom, which lasted from the 16th century BCE to the 11th century BCE. “This is a completely unusual discovery and the first of its kind in the history of research in Egypt,” Patryk Chudzik, an archaeologist from the University of Warsaw, told Newsweek.

Nile Crocodiles Ancient Egypt
John Walker via Wikimedia Commons
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Chudzik was supervising the dig. His team had been working in the tombs since 2013. Finding crocodiles in ancient Egyptian tombs was not totally uncommon. They have been many found along the Nile and are typically found in special catacombs made for sacred animals. So, what makes this recent discovery so unique? Chudzik explained to Newsweek, “In our case, things are different. Firstly, only the heads and not the entire bodies of these Nile reptiles have been deposited in the tombs where we work. Secondly, they were not mummified but only wrapped in linen… Finally, the remains were found in the tombs of humans, not the catacombs of sacred animals.” A complete article was published in the Journal of African Archaeology detailing everything they discovered.

Last year was an incredible year of discoveries in ancient Egypt, and hopefully, this next year will prove to be as exciting. There is so much left to uncover about what these mysterious crocodile heads could mean. Stay tuned.

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