Archaeologists have discovered an unprecedented 8,000-year-old dog tomb – the oldest in southern Europe – in a shell mound near the Portuguese town of Alcaçer do Sal.
Project co-director Mariana Diniz told Lusa News Agency the find held “significant importance” because previously there had been no such sign of ancient “canine symbology” in southern Europe, in contrast to northern parts of the continent.
“Eight thousand years ago [southern] communities domesticated dogs, an animal with an economic role, but also a symbolic one”, Ms. Diniz said.
“The ritual burial of dogs was done with care, not just any way, with special significance”, she added of the find.
Lisbon’s National Museum of Archaeology has dispatched a specialist team to the site to consolidate and remove the tomb for conservation and future public display.
The find was made by archaeologists from Lisbon University and the Spanish University of Cantabria.