Nautilus

Why Did the Ancients Bury Their Dogs like Family Members?

Man’s best friend was also man’s first buried pet.Photograph by Pavlina Trauskeova / Shutterstock

As a kid, when my pet turtle died we had a funeral—of course—and buried him in the backyard. When the family dog passed, his remains were cremated and placed in an urn on the mantle. In today’s society, mortuary rites for animals are so common, Yelp has reviews of pet cemeteries (5 stars for Animal Aftercare. 4.5 for Pet Haven).

While online ratings are new, concern for the animal afterlife is not a modern fad. “People were doing this thousands and thousands of years ago… it’s a long, long standing practice,” says archaeologist Robert Losey.

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