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Mummified 15th Century Canines Discovered In Peru

November 11, 2010

Archaeologists have discovered six mummified dogs that they believe were used in 15th Century religious ceremonies, French news agency AFP reported on Wednesday.

The discovery came at a major pre-Columbian site located south of Lima, Peru, and according to the report, along with the dogs, whose breeds have yet to be identified, the Peruvian researchers discovered the mummified remains of four children.

According to what Jesus Holguin, an archaeologist with the Pachacamac Site Museum, told AFP, the dogs “have hair and complete teeth” and were discovered two weeks ago in one of the area’s adobe brick pyramids. The canines had been wrapped in cloth, and the archaeologists believe that they served as offerings during a funeral ceremony, possible for a key Incan figure.

“The experts believe the dogs are neither Hairless Peruvian Dogs–an ancient native breed–nor sheepdogs found at gravesites of the Chiribaya culture, which flourished in southern Peru between the years 900 and 1350,” the AFP said, adding that members of the team believe that the condition of their teeth suggest that they could have been domesticated hunting dogs.

The remains, which were reportedly well preserved thanks to the area’s dry weather and the soil found in the Pachacamac region, will now be x-rayed in an attempt to discern their breeds and the cause of death, according to the AFP report.

The Pachacamac site is located in the Lurin River valley, approximately 25 miles southeast of Peru’s capital. At least 17 temples and several other buildings, most of which have been dated from between 800 and 1450 CD, have been discovered at the site.

According to the Pachacamac Archeological Project homepage, the site “has long been regarded as the preeminent religious and/or pilgrimage center of pre-Hispanic Peru. The fame and power of its oracle and ancient temples, together with myths pertaining to its dualistic, telurian, patron deity, ‘Pachacamac,’ have been described by both Spanish Colonial writers and modern scholars.”

Image Caption: The Pachacamac Temple of the Sun. The photo was taken in 2002 by HÃ¥kan Svensson (Xauxa)/Wikipedia.

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