The dog was discovered at an Iron Age burial site in Blekinge, southern Sweden, along with what archaeologists believe are grave goods – valuable or sentimental possessions buried with the dead.
“This is the oldest burial find of a dog in the country. The dog is well-preserved, and the fact that it lies buried in the middle of a stone age building is unique,” said osteologist Ola Magnell.
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It was around 8,400 years ago that this Stone Age village was flooded by rising sea, which means some of the remains, including those of 51 homes, are remarkably well-preserved in the mud. The find was part of the largest ever archaeological excavation in the Blekinge region, which has been further extended because of the unique discoveries.
The dog has not yet been removed from the grave, but this is set to happen later in the week and will be a delicate procedure.
“A find like this makes you feel even closer to the people who lived here” said Carl Persson, a project manager at Blekinge Museum. “A buried dog somehow shows how similar we are over the millennia, the same feelings of grief and loss.”