|Iron age dog burial, Thailand|
In some places dog burials are so common, that their absence prompts scientists to ask, "Why are no dogs buried here?"
|The most recognized archaeological sites where dogs are buried|
Why humans buried dogs isn't clear. Some were sacrificed for ritual, others disposed of for sanitary reasons, and many lovingly interred out of respect and affection.
|One of more than 40 mummified dogs discovered in Peru in 2006|
Two recent discoveries in Peru support the idea that in some parts of the world, dogs were part of the family. When people died, it was customary to kill their dog and send both souls to wherever souls go. As Will Rogers said: "If there are no dogs in heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." In 2006, in Peru, archaeologist Sonia Guillen reported that her team had discovered around 40 dogs buried 1000 years ago in separate plots alongside their owners.The discovery was unusual in that dogs were buried with items that looked like toys and dog food.
Guillen, who studies Chiribaya culture, told the press, “We have found that in all the cemeteries, always, in between the human tombs there are others dedicated to the dogs, full-grown and puppies. They have their own graves, and in some cases they are buried with blankets and food." She added that today, Chiribaya people prize their dogs for their llama herding skills, and Guillen suspects that the mummified dogs were much loved companions. In addition, they may be direct ancestors to dogs that populate the village today.
|Peruvian village dog|
In 2013, on the heels of Guillen's find, archaeologists unearthed the remains of 137 dogs, from puppy to adult, buried more than 900 years ago, in Lima, Peru. The dogs were placed in resting positions alongside human remains. Some were wrapped in mummy bundles, along with vegetable rope. Watch this video.
Dogs from both digs were under 30 pounds, with long yellow coats, very similar to the dogs still used to herd llama today.