Egyptian Limestone Cat Statue
January 21, 2010—This limestone feline is among some 600 cat statues from a newfound temple dedicated to the Egyptian cat goddess Bastet. The ancient temple was recently discovered under the streets of modern-day Alexandria, Egypt.
Egyptian archaeologists who found the temple say it was built by Queen Berenike II, wife of Greek King Ptolemy III, who ruled Egypt from 246 to 221 B.C.
Cats were important house pets in ancient Egypt and were often depicted in private tombs. In some cases, cats were mummified in the same way as humans and buried at temples.
"This is one of the most important discoveries in Alexandria in the last hundred years," said Mohamed Abdel Maqsoud, head of antiquities of Lower Egypt for the Supreme Council of Antiquities and lead archaeologist for the find.
—Andrew Bossone in Cairo
Photos: Queen's Cat Goddess Temple Found in Egypt
An ancient temple filled with about 600 cat statues was built for the goddess Bastet by Queen Berenike II, say archaeologists who found the ruins under modern-day Alexandria.