Why Did the Ancients Bury Their Dogs like Family Members?

Man’s best friend was also man’s first buried pet.Photograph by Pavlina Trauskeova / Shutterstock
As a kid, when my pet turtle died we had a funeral—of course—and buried him in the backyard. When the family dog passed, his remains were cremated and placed in an urn on the mantle. In today’s society, mortuary rites for animals are so common, Yelp has reviews of pet cemeteries (5 stars for Animal Aftercare. 4.5 for Pet Haven).

By Bridget Alex | NAUTILUS

While online ratings are new, concern for the animal afterlife is not a modern fad. “People were doing this thousands and thousands of years ago… it’s a long, long standing practice,” says archaeologist Robert Losey.

Archaeologists have unearthed ancient pet burials dating as far back as 14,000 years, from the dawn of animal domestication. Although interred animals are relatively rare (when considering the full archaeological record of all human societies), they occur in at least some cultures and time periods on every continent except Antarctica.

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