The Aztec Dog Burials

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Archaeologists in Mexico City have made an extraordinary discovery—the skeletons of 12 dogs all mysteriously buried together more than 500 years ago, in the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan.

Dog burials have been uncovered before at archaeological digs, but this is a first such finding not associated with a building or a human burial.

Dogs were important symbolically in Aztec mythology. They were believed to serve their masters even after death, guiding the soul of the deceased through the many hazardous layers of the underworld to reach Mictlan, the place of the dead. Whether the Aztecs associated the buried dogs with such symbolism is still unknown.

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Interestingly, the bones look quite intact, meaning these particular dogs probably weren’t eaten for food (the primary reason dogs were raised – hey, they weren’t hypocrites, they ate people as well, albeit for religious reasons).

The location has been dated to somewhere between A.D. 1350 to 1520, so before the Conquest.

Via National Geographic.

This entry was posted in Culture, History, Science by Heretic. Bookmark the permalink.

About Heretic

I design video games for a living, write fiction, political theory and poetry for personal amusement, and train regularly in Western European 16th century swordwork. On frequent occasion I have been known to hunt for and explore abandoned graveyards, train tunnels and other interesting places wherever I may find them, but there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that I am preparing to set off a zombie apocalypse. Nothing that will stand up in court, at least. I use paranthesis with distressing frequency, have a deep passion for history, anthropology and sociological theory, and really, really, really hate mayonnaise. But I wash my hands after the writing. Promise.

2 thoughts on “The Aztec Dog Burials

  1. I think the arrangement and different layers hints at a pet cemetary for one family probably ,they would find a simalar burial configuration on our property, which would also includ cats ,ferrets and birds.

    • It’s certainly one possibility, but given that dogs were mostly a food animal in that time and place, not a pet, I’m inclined a little more towards the ritual angle since the skeletons were complete.

      Though, people on farms do sometimes have pigs or cattle as true pets as well, so…

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