Aztec dogs - level 3

Aztec dogs - level 3

07-03-2014 15:00

Under a block of flats in bustling Mexico City, a team of archaeologists has discovered the remains of 12 Aztec dogs which date back some 500 years.

Experts believe the find could be the world’s oldest canine cemetery and the first pet burial ground of the ancient civilisation. Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History believe the remains date as far as the 14th century.

While the exact breed hasn’t been identified, dogs were revered by the mysterious civilisation as the guardians of the dead, buried together with humans to guide them to the afterlife. They’ve also been found under ancient monuments and pyramids which the Aztecs believed would help protect the structures. But this latest discovery has baffled some experts.

“We’ve also found some dogs buried with buildings as guardians, but in this case, we’ve no evidence of this at the moment.”

It’s thought the remains could be from a breed which is an ancestor of the modern-day Chihuahua and which the Aztecs had kept as pets.

Digging will continue at the site, as archaeologists try to find more clues to the exact nature of the ancient Aztec burial site.

Difficult words: bustling (very busy), canine (relating to dogs), breed (kind), baffle (confuse), afterlife (life after death), ancestor (animal from which modern animals have developed).

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