Archaeology Magazine Archive

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Man's Best Friends Volume 57 Number 4, July/August 2004

The discovery of a Neolithic cat burial on the island of Cyprus has more than doubled the known history of cat-human companionship. French archaeologists found the remains of a 9,500-year-old wildcat buried a little more than a foot away from a high-status person of indeterminate sex. Both cat and human were buried with their heads facing west, which may suggest they had a close bond in life. The oldest previous examples of domestic relationships between cats and humans are from Egypt circa 2000 B.C.

Meanwhile, archaeologists excavating a Welsh crannog, or bog dwelling built on stilts, may have found evidence of a royal fondness for the corgi dog that predates Queen Elizabeth II's by more than a millennium. A foreleg bone discovered at Llangorse Lake--possibly the site of the royal residence of the Welsh kingdom of Brycheiniog in the late ninth century--is from a small, corgi-size dog. ("Corgi" comes from the Welsh for "dwarf dog.") Archaeologists plan to consult the Welsh Corgi Club and compare the bone to more recent corgi remains.

© 2004 by the Archaeological Institute of America