Archaeologists associated with Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have discovered a massive Aztec dog burial site underneath an apartment building in Mexico City near the neighborhood of Aztacapozalco.
The discovery noted as “exceptional” is comprised of the remains of 12 dogs buried together. Dog remains have been discovered in other Aztec burials but typically accompanying human remains or as part of a sacrificial offering to the gods.
The site appears to be a dedicated burial for dogs. It is believed the dogs were buried around the same time in a small pit during the peak of the Aztec rein – 1350 to 1520 AD. This could be some type of dog cemetery, which would make it the first-of-its-kind.
Dogs were revered by the Aztecs and thought to have special powers, helping the dead reach the after life. They were also viewed as protectors of treasures, often buried under pyramids to protect gold and silver.
INAH archaeologists will now work to determine the breed of dog(s) that is buried in the site and determine how they died.
Early indications are these dogs were common, fully grown dogs based on the full set of dentures found on the dog skeletons.