Archaeologists discovered the animal’s skeleton next to human remains in the city of Sölvesborg, close to 51 buildings from the same period.
While working on archaeological excavations in the Ljungaviken district, located in the city of Sölvesborg, Sweden, researchers found the bones of an 8,400-year-old dog next to what archaeologists believe to be graves.
On the same site, ruins of 51 buildings dating to the same period were found.
“This is one of the oldest discoveries of dog graves in the country,” said osteologist (specialist in bones and joints) Ola Magnell.
“The dog is well preserved, and the fact that it is buried in the middle of the Stone Age settlement is unique.”
According to the researchers, the region was flooded eight millennia ago due to rising sea levels.
During the excavations, large layers of mud and sand were removed from the site – responsible for protecting and preserving the bones and buildings throughout this time.
Now, the exposed terrain has large amounts of sedimentary rock called flint and ruins of old buildings.
“We hope to be able to lift the whole dog up in preparations, i.e. with soil and everything, and continue the investigations at Blekinge Museum’s object magazine,” said project manager Carl Persson of the Blekinge museum.
“A find like this makes you feel even closer to the people who lived here. A buried dog somehow shows how similar we are over the millennia – the same feelings of loss.”
According to the researchers, the animal was buried alongside human remains as part of an ancient tradition called “grave goods”, in which valuable goods or objects of sentimental value were buried with the dead.
Although unable to identify the dog’s breed, scientists suggest that it would have been similar to an English Greyhound.
The archaeologists recorded a video showing images of the site: