Who let the dogs in? Lap dogs, canid sacrifices and funerary practices in the Roman cemetery of Llanos del Pretorio (Cordoba, Spain)

Sanchez, Rafael M. Martinez; Valverde, Manuel Rubio; Moreno-Garcia, Marta; Ruiz, Alexis Maldonado; Torres, Arsenio Granados; Huertas, Antonio Delgado

VL / 12 - BP / - EP /
Small dogs as pets, objects of affection and special consideration by their owners, are known in the Western Mediterranean since classical Antiquity through texts, epigraphy and iconography. The study of a small-sized canid with a brachycephalic skull discovered in a cemetery, among other specimens, in the southern Hispania yields new interpretations regarding the relationships between dogs and humans at the outset of the Common Era in the western Roman world and sheds light on how to evaluate their symbolic implications in funerary rites. The physical characteristics of these specimens were analysed through morphological, osteometric, palaeopathological and biochemical isotopes methods. The findings represent a step forward in the understanding of the everyday life, mobility and diet of dogs, as well as the cause of their death which, in the case of the small-sized specimen, appears to correspond to a deliberate sacrifice.

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