As an archaeologist, Robert Losey has helped excavate dog and human burial sites around Lake Baikal in southern Siberia and other places around the world. He is constantly impressed by evidence of just how long humans have loved dogs.
This dog was buried about 7,000 years ago in southern Siberia along with stone tools. A round pebble was placed in its mouth. No one knows what it means but it meant something to the human who carefully put it there.
The people transported dogs' bodies long distances to cemeteries where other humans were buried. The dogs were laid out in sleeping positions like the humans who were buried in nearby graves.
They put gifts into the dog graves for the afterlife. One dog wore a necklace with the same shiny, elk-tooth jewelry that humans wore. They would put items on the body and in the grave – spoons, necklaces, arrowheads, antlers from roe deer – the same goods they’d leave in the graves of humans.
Humans and dogs ate the same food. Chemical tests on dog and human bones showed both were eating a lot of fish. Since dogs don’t fish, it means the humans fed them.
Dogs have helped shape civilization.
“It would have been impossible for humans to colonize the Arctic as fast and as early as they did had there not been dogs with them,” according to Losey.
Dogs joined in the hunt, pulled sleds and guarded the camps from predators.
There was also clearly an emotional bond.