Archaeologists discovered an ancient dog burial site that is the resting place for 12 dogs, under an apartment building in Mexico City. This finding is significant because they are thought to be buried by the Aztecs.
The Aztecs believed that dogs could guide human souls into a new life after death, and could guard pyramids and monuments when buried underneath them. Typically, the Aztecs would bury deceased dogs with bodies, as part of an offering. This finding is special because the dogs are buried by themselves. In fact, this is the first time this many dogs have been found buried together.
"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 in a statement.
Experts believe that the dogs were buried in the small pit between 1350 and 1520 AD. This estimate is based on ceramics and other items archaeologists found buried nearby.
The bones found will undergo analysis that can tell archaeologists what kind of dogs they are, and perhaps even how they were killed.
Aztecs were known to keep dogs called Techichi, which are small and are ancestors of the popular Chihuahua breed of today. The ethnic group also kept the breed Xoloitzcuintlism, which is often identified by their loss of adult teeth later on in life.
One of the archaeologists working on the excavation site, Antonio Zamora, said a biologist stated that the canine skeletons likely belonged to common medium-sized dogs that contained full sets of teeth.
The remains were found in the Mexico City borough of Aztacapozalco.
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