STOCKHOLM (AP) — Archaeologists on Thursday reported finding the remains of a dog from more than 8,400 years ago at a human burial site in southern Sweden.
“The dog is well preserved, and the fact that it is buried in the middle of the Stone Age settlement is unique,” osteologist Ola Magnell of the Blekinge Museum said of the discovery near the town of Solvesborg.
Museum project manager Carl Persson said “a sudden and violent increase of the sea level” flooded the area with mud that had helped preserve the burial site. An ongoing archaeological excavation has involved removing layers of sand and mud.
The Swedish archaeologists said the dog was buried with a person, noting that survivors often leave valuable or sentimental objects with the dead.
Such findings “makes you feel even closer to the people who lived here,” Persson said in a statement. “A buried dog somehow shows how similar we are over the millennia when it comes to the feelings like grief and loss.”
The dog bones have not been removed from the ground yet but the archaeologists plan to eventually take them to the Blekinge Museum for study.
The area where the dog was found is part of a vast site where local authorities and archaeologists are currently carrying out one of the largest archaeological digs ever undertaken in the region..
The area is believed to have been inhabited by hunters during the Stone Age. A residential community is expected to be built on the burial site once the archaeologists are done.