Aztec Dog Graveyard Unearthed

First-of-its-kind find puzzles Mexico archeologists

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 17, 2014 1:57 AM CST | Updated Feb 17, 2014 4:00 AM CST

(Newser) – Archeologists have been amazed to discover what may have been an ancient pet cemetery under an apartment building in Mexico City. The Aztecs believed the spirits of dogs could guide human souls to the afterlife or protect buildings, but this is the first time a group of dogs has been found buried together with no apparent connection to a building or a deceased person, the AP finds. Around a dozen dogs were found buried in a pit that dates to the heyday of the Aztec empire.

"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," an anthropology professor explains. Archeologists plan to dig deeper to seek evidence that could help interpret the find, and to examine the remains of the dogs to determine the cause of death, reports Past Horizons. Last year, archeologists were puzzled to find a dog head on an Aztec sacrifice rack alongside those of human victims.

This image released by Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History shows canine skeletons unearthed by investigators in Mexico City.
This image released by Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History shows canine skeletons unearthed by investigators in Mexico City.   (AP Photo/INAH, Meliton Tapia)
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