On Friday, archeologists made a very unique discovery in Mexico. Located under an old apartment building in Mexico City was an ancient Aztec dog burial site that is said to have dated back to 1350 and 1520 AD.
You may wonder why this finding is so significant. Well, it is believed that mass burial sites for dogs were not common in the era that experts believe the site dates back to. The archeologists uncovered 12 different skeletons from dogs located in one area. The dogs were placed strategically, as if they were lined in a graveyard, which is also not a common practice for the time period.
Had the dog’s remains been found accompanying a human skeleton, it would not have been such a shock to the archeologists and researchers. The ancient Aztec’s are thought to have buried their dead along with their dogs so that the dog could help the human pass on to their life after death. It was also common for dogs to be buried near pyramids and other important structures so that they could guard them from any harm.
Michael E. Smith, an anthropology professor at Arizona State University did not take part in the findings, however he did want to speak on their behalf to explain their significance.
This is not the first time a burial of a dog has been found, but it is the first find where many dogs were carefully buried together, in a setting that is like a cemetery.
Researchers plan to do an analysis on each individual carcass to determine what breeds the dogs were, and how and why they were killed.
That work will tell us about the breed of these dogs, and it may tell us how they were killed. The full significance of the finds is rarely obvious at time of excavation; the analysis will give the full story.
Biologists told the team of archeologists that the dogs were medium sizes and had full sets of teeth. They believe that the dogs were a common breed for that time period.
Researchers will also continue to study and investigate the area in which the dogs were found to determine if there was any significance to their strategic placement. Not only could there be human remains nearby, there could also have been an ancient structure located there, at one time, that the dogs had been placed near to guard.
[Image via Wikimedia Commons]