Peruvian archaeologists have uncovered remains of over 100 dogs thought to be 1,000 years old in the ancient ruins of Parque de las Leyendas in Lima, Peru.
Sixty-two complete canine remains were found along with seventy-five incomplete remains according to Peru’s El Comercio. All the dog skeletons were found in resting positions alongside human remains. The dogs are thought to be companions to the humans they were buried with and part of a ritual ceremony.
The remains were found in the Maranga Archaeological Complex located inside the Parque de las Leyendas. The park houses the city zoo and botanical gardens of Lima but are also home to one of the country’s most important pre-Hispanic complexes.
The dogs found are not thought to be the native pre-Incan hairless dog breed (Perro Sin Pelo) but rather dogs that possessed yellowish/brown fur. Evolutionary geneticists concur that dogs have been on this earth since humans have been.
In 2006 archaeologists unearthed forty mummified dogs in a 1,000 year-old pet cemetery south of the capital city. Many of the dogs had llama and fish bones next to their noses to make sure they had something to eat in the afterlife. In 2010 the remains of six canines and four children were found also thought to be 1,000 years old.
These discoveries highlight the important status dogs had in ancient pre-Hispanic cultures.