This video shows 2005 donkey riding to the valley of the kings, Luxor, Egypt.
Wild Ass Tamed, Buried with Egyptian King
By Jeanna Bryner, LiveScience Staff Writer
posted: 10 March 2008 5:00 pm ET
One of the earliest Egyptian kings carried his “beasts of burden” into the afterlife. Paleoscientists discovered the skeletons of 10 donkeys nestled in three mud graves dating back 5,000 years ago when Egypt was just forming a state.
The donkey skeletons were discovered in 2003 lying on their sides in graves at a burial complex of one of the first pharaohs at Abydos, Egypt, which is about 300 miles (480 kilometers) south of Cairo.
“There have been very few funerary complexes of the first pharaohs ever found,” said Fiona Marshall, an anthropologist at Washington University in St. Louis, “and nobody expected that in some of the highest status graves there would be donkeys; you normally have high courtiers or nobles.” …
The importance of the donkey haulers is supported by the skeletons’ burial location. The researchers speculate the donkeys were associated with the tomb of either King Narmer or King Aha. King Narmer is known for unifying Upper and Lower Egypt and creating the world’s first nation-state.
“It certainly suggests they were of very great importance to the pharaoh and the early Egyptian state,” Marshall said. “It’s very likely that having land-based transport of this kind actually helped to integrate the state, which was the world’s first and earliest nation-state.”