An ancient dog burial site was discovered this week in Mexico City. The burial site was located under an old apartment building and yielded the bodies of 12 dogs. In the Aztec culture, dogs were considered religious and symbolic creatures.
Dog burials were not uncommon for the Aztecs and there have been many dog bodies found along with human bodies. These bodies were considered offerings. The recent discovery of the dog burial site is unique because it is the first burial site found that only contains a group of dog bodies.
"This is definitely a special finding because of the number of dogs and because we have found no connection to a building or with the deceased," said archaeologist Rocio Morales Sanchez.
Dogs played an important role in the Aztec culture. Not only were they faithful companions, they were also thought to be escorts to the underworld. The Aztecs believed that when a human died, he needed a dog to escort him to the underworld. That is why so many people, especially important people, were buried with dogs. The Aztecs also used dogs to guard their pyramids and religious monuments. They would often bury dogs around these locations, believing their spirits would protect them.
"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," Michael E. Smith, an anthropology professor at Arizona State University said.
He also said that archaeologists are hoping to do more work around the site to learn more about the dogs and why they were buried there.
"That work will tell us about the breed of these dogs, and it may tell us how they were killed," he continued. "The full significance of the finds is rarely obvious at time of excavation; the analysis will give the full story."
Why do you think so many dogs were buried at this site?