A discovery at an ancient dog burial ground in Egypt proves, archaeologically, what history has already recorded — ticks have been around for a loooooong time.
At least one of the well-preserved parasites was found in a mummified dog’s right ear.
According to LiveScience.com, it’s the the first archaeological evidence of bloodsucking parasites plaguing dogs as far back as the era of Roman rule in Egypt.
French archaeologists found the infested dog mummy while studying hundreds of mummified dogs at the excavation site of El Deir in Egypt, known as the Dog Catacombs, during expeditions in 2010 and 2011.
The parasites included the common brown tick and louse fly.
“Although the presence of parasites, as well as ectoparasite-borne diseases, in ancient times was already suspected from the writings of the major Greek and Latin scholars, these facts were not archaeologically proven until now,” said Jean-Bernard Huchet, an archaeoentomologist at the National Museum of Natural History in Paris.
The Dog Catacombs date to 747-730 B.C., and are dedicated to the Anubis, the Egyptians’ jackal-headed god of the dead.
They were first documented in the 19th century, but weren’t fully excavated until 2011 when a team led by Paul Nicholson, an archaeologist at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom, started examining the tunnels and their contents.
It’s estimated the catacombs contain the remains of 8 million animals, mostly dogs and jackals.
Many appear to have been only hours or days old when they were killed and mummified.
The Dog Catacombs are located at Saqqara, the burial ground for the ancient capital Memphis.
Posted by John Woestendiek September 26th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ancient, archaeologists, archaeology, brown tick, burial, dog, dog catacombs, dogs, egypt, flies, ground, history, jackals, mummies, mummified, mummy, parasites, pests, site, ticks
A new study suggests the earliest domestic dogs weren’t just kept for hunting and protection, but for loving — a premise supported by evidence that some prehistoric pet owners actually outfitted their dogs in bling, if not before death, at least after it.
An analysis of ancient dog burials, published in PLoS ONE, found that deceased dogs were often laid to rest not just with respect, but with toys and ornaments, Jennifer Viegas reports on Discovery.com.
The findings show that, at least as recently as 10,000 years ago, dogs were valued for more than their ability to stand sentry and track game.
The researchers also say the earliest dog lovers were fish-eaters, and held spiritual beliefs. Subsisting on diets rich in seafood, they apparently didn’t rely on dogs to help them find dinner, or as dinner.
“Dog burials appear to be more common in areas where diets were rich in aquatic foods because these same areas also appear to have had the densest human populations and the most cemeteries,” Robert Losey, lead author of the study told Discovery News.
“If the practice of burying dogs was solely related to their importance in procuring terrestrial game, we would expect to see them in the Early Holocene (around 9,000 years ago), when human subsistence practices were focused on these animals,” Losey, a University of Alberta anthropologist, added. “Further, we would expect to see them in later periods in areas where fish were never really major components of the diet and deer were the primary focus, but they are rare or absent in these regions.”
For the study, Losey’s team researched dog burials worldwide, but focused particularly on ones located in Eastern Siberia. The earliest known domesticated dog was found there, dating to 33,000 years ago. Dog burials in the region are more recent, going back about 10,000 years.
They found that dogs were sometimes buried with meaningful items, sometimes even their human, showing that man’s bond with dog — while it may be ever-strengthening — goes way, way back.
According to the Discovery report:
“…One dog, for example, was laid to rest “much like it is sleeping.” A man was buried with two dogs, one carefully placed to the left of his body, and the other to the right. A dog was buried with a round pebble, possibly a toy or meaningful symbol, placed in its mouth. Still other dogs were buried with ornaments and implements, such as spoons and stone knives.
“One of the most interesting burials contains a dog wearing a necklace made out of four red deer tooth pendants. Such necklaces appear to have been a fashion and/or symbolic trend at the time, since people wore them too.”
The researchers found that most of the dog burials in the area occurred during the Early Neolithic era, about 8,000 years ago.
(Photo by Robert Losey, via Discovery.com)
Posted by John Woestendiek May 22nd, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, bling, burial, death, dog, dogs, domesticated, earliest, fish, grieving, man, mourning, pets, prehistoric, research, robert losey, seafood, siberia, spirituality, study, univerisity of alberta, wolf
One of the reasons Ace and I are lingering in this town – Winston-Salem, North Carolina – is so that I can reconnect with my roots here in my birthplace. An opportunity to do that arose last week.
Tan, or Tan-NEE, as her nickname was pronounced in full, was Kathleen Hall, who, though not related by blood, grew up as a sister of my grandmother. As my mother’s aunt, she babysat me before I turned one – here in the very same house Ace and I recently moved into. Never married, she was a schoolteacher and administrator. She died in 1983, at the age of 92. An elementary school in town bears her name.
Putting flowers on her grave is a family tradition at Easter – one that, if I ever was aware of it, I had forgotten.
Aunt Edna Faye explained that Tan was buried in the Moravian Graveyard, in what’s known as “God’s Acre,” near the Home Moravian Church in Old Salem. She didn’t know exactly where the gravesite was: “It’s behind the church, on a hill sort of to the left, near the sidewalk. It’s on the side that’s towards Salem, not towards Krispy Kreme.”
She asked, when she called on Friday, that I get some flowers and place them at Tan’s headstone.
“There are no containers there, so it needs to be something in a pot, and not a very tall one because it would tip over. Just sort of press it in the ground and stabilize it as much as you can,” she said. Last year, Edna Faye got Tan a pink hydrangea.
When I told my mother – who is Edna Faye’s sister — of the mission, she said she had thought about asking me to do it, but didn’t want to bother me. When I finished reprimanding her for that – explaining that the main reason I’ve temporarily moved here is so she can bother me — she asked if she could come along and quietly watch from the car.
“Hell no,” I answered.
On our way to buy the flowers, she told me a little about Tan, most of which I’d forgotten. She considered Tan one of her four aunts, and perhaps the one to whom, as an adult, she was closest. When my father shipped out to Korea, Tan was there for her, and for long after that. She babysat my sister and me – I being born about nine months after my father returned. She was a much beloved teacher. Her nickname, Tan-NEE, apparently derived from a young nephew’s mispronunciation of Auntie. Her favorite color was purple.
Leaving Ace and my mother in the car, I surveyed the flowering plants outside a grocery store, opting for a delphinium because it was purple, with shades of blue. Ace approved. More important, so did my mother.
At God’s Acre (or Gottesacker, in the old German) members of the congregation were there in droves. The day before Easter is what’s known as decoration day – a time when relatives and church members tidy up the graves, and place out fresh flowers – partly because it’s tradition, partly because a huge sunrise Easter service takes place there the next morning.
People were hauling in plants, pouring bleach on gravestones to remove grey mold, and scrubbing off the grime, some using toothbrushes. All of the headstones at the Moravian Graveyard are exactly the same shape and size – Moravians being big on simplicity and uniformity. The departed are buried chronologically, in the order in which they are “called home to be with the Lord,” and there are no statues or monuments to distinguish the graves of the rich from those of the poor.
Normally, that would have made finding Tan’s grave difficult. But I’d gone on the graveyard’s website the day before, typed in her name and gotten the precise location: Section 1AA, Row 02, Grave 04. Between that and the map the website provided, finding her was easy.
She was buried alongside other women — that, too, being the Moravian way. Men, women and children are buried in separate sections, which stems from the church’s “choir system,” introduced in Saxony by Count Zinzendorf, the renewer of the Moravian Church.
The congregation was divided into groups according to age, sex, and marital status so that each individual might be cared for spiritually according to their differing needs. At worship the “choirs” also sat together – boys on one side, girls on the other.
When death comes, members are buried not with their families, but by the same choir system.
God’s Acre is still used by the Salem Congregation, comprised of twelve Moravian Churches within the city of Winston-Salem. Members of the church gather there the day before easter to ensure that all of the graves have flowers by Sunday.
Other than her grave location, there’s not a lot of information on Kathleen Hall on the Internet, her death having preceded its rise. Even with an elementary school named after her, there are few references to be found, other than a 1939 Winston-Salem high school year book for sale on eBay – one page of which is dedicated to her for her “friendly, untiring and unselfish services.”
My parents left North Carolina when I was one, so, except for a few visits over the years, I never got to closely know Kathleen Hall, who my sister, with slight variation, was named after.
My mother says that when my sister Kathryn was an infant, and wouldn’t stop crying, Tan would take her for car rides, and that made her finally shut up. (I’ll need to remember that next time I visit.)
When my mother moved back to Winston-Salem, in the late 1970s, I’d gone off to college, followed by my first job, far away in Arizona. My younger brother got to know Tan better than me, visiting her, after her retirement, at the Moravian home, where he remembers she liked watching professional wrestling on TV, and drinking banana milk shakes, which he’d always stop and pick up on the way.
I was hoping to introduce Ace to Tan, as I introduced him a few months ago to John Steinbeck, but I decided to obey the “no dogs allowed” signs. I didn’t want him squirting while everyone else was sprucing. He waited patiently in the car, watching from the window, as did my mother.
At Tan’s gravesite, someone had already left a lily, I set our contribution next to it, pushing it down into the moist earth as instructed. Contrary to Aunt Edna Faye’s advice, I picked a flower that grows tall. But I figured even if it toppled, it would keep growing, albeit sideways.
The hillside was filling up with people, armed with scrub brushes, bleach and Comet, and flowers in buckets and wagons and wheelbarrows, paying respect not just with their presence, but with their sweat.
Slowly, the cemetery took on more and more color, as if blooming — with lilies and azaleas and hydrangea and tulips and geraniums and daisies and daffodils.
And, amid the crowd, at least one purple delphinium.
Posted by John Woestendiek April 24th, 2011 under Muttsblog.
Tags: aunt, burial, church, cleaning, custom, decoration day, delphinium, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, easter, family, flowers, gods acre, gottesacker, grave, gravestones, graveyard, hall-woodward elementary, home, kathleen hall, kin, memories, moravian, moravian graveyard, old salem, pets, purple, relatives, salem, schoolteacher, tan, teacher, tombstones, tradition, travels with ace, winston-salem
Ace stepped lightly between the tombstones, paused to sniff a clump of artificial flowers, then moved on – past Flop, Train, Daisy, Black Ranger and Bear. He paused at the final resting places of Patches and Preacher and Bean Blossom Bomma, then sauntered by Smoky, Squeek and Easy Going Sam, whose rusting collar is looped over the cross marking his grave.
We were alone at the Coon Dog Cemetery in Cherokee, Alabama – except for the 215 dogs buried beneath us — on a hot and drizzly Friday, silent except for the chirps of birds and the whining hum of mosquitos sizing up my ears.
I’d long wanted to visit the Coon Dog Cemetery. We’ve featured it on this website before. But those were long distance, second hand dispatches. Being there, especially when no one else is, is another story.
Between the bursts of color provided by the fake flowers on almost every grave; the eclectic mix of memorials, ranging from engraved stone, to etched metal to carved wooden crosses, and the homey epitaphs and monikers, the cemetery is at once haunting and inspiring – a Southern icon, and a reminder of the powerful, difficult to relinquish, connection between dog and owner.
Especially when that dog and owner were hunting buddies.
Located in a grassy meadow in the wilderness of Freedom Hills, the cemetery permits only coon dogs – 215 of which are buried there, according to Susann Hamlin, executive director of the Colbert County Tourism & Convention Bureau, which now maintains the property.
The cemetery got its start when Key Underwood chose the spot – not far from where coon hunters gathered to share stories – to bury his faithful coon dog Troop. On a dreary Labor Day in 1937, Troop was wrapped in a cotton sack and buried three feet down. Underwood marked the grave with a rock from an old chimney. He used a hammer and screwdriver to chisel Troop’s name and date.
After that, other hunters started doing the same – first those from Alabama and Mississippi, later from all around the country.
We found it after driving 15 miles down a winding road through the gently rolling hills of northwest Alabama, and for an hour had it all to ourselves. Then another car pulled up, driven by Hamlin, who was escorting a photographer working on a project about Alabama for the National Archives.
Hamlin said about three dogs a year are buried at the cemetery nowadays – a reflection of the declining popularity of the sport, in which the dogs track raccoons and chase them up trees before the hunters … well, you know the rest.
How much pride those hunters took in their dogs still lingers though, in tall tales, folklore and, most of all, at the cemetery, where heartfelt tributes are hammered, carved and burned into grave markers:
“He wasn’t the best, but he was the best I ever had.”
“He was good as the best and better than the rest.”
“He was a joy to hunt with.”
Every year on Labor Day, a festival is held at the cemetery, hosted by the Tennessee Valley Coon Hunters Association. The cemetery is spruced up and decorated, and the event features bluegrass music, food and a liar’s contest.
Better yet, check it out in person. Admission is free, but the mosquitos do take up donations. I added about a dozen more bites to my ongoing collection – a small price to pay for such a big, colorful and moving sampling of southern culture.
To read all of Dog’s Country, click here.
Posted by John Woestendiek June 7th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace, ace does america, alabama, animals, burial, cemetery, cherokee, coon dog cemetery, coon dogs, coonhounds, coons, death, dog, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, epitaphs, florence, ground, hunting, journey, key underwood, loss, memorials, pets, raccoons, roadtrip, tombstones, travel, trip, tuscumbia
Minty of Downalong. Black Bean. Esquire Mulatto. Georgia Judy. Tipsy. Petey’s Repeat. You can find them all — or their graves, at least — at Di-Lane Plantation in Waynesboro, Georgia.
Hidden under moss-draped oaks on the former quail hunting preserve of a New York millionaire is a cemetery for bird dogs — much like the Alabama coonhound cemetery we featured a few weeks ago,.
Rob Pavey, outdoors editor of the Augusta Chronicle, recently dropped by the bird dog cemetery at Di-Lane Plantation, which he originally wrote about in 1998.
More than 70 bird dogs are laid to rest at the cemetery, which is in the center of 8,100 acres that once belonged to Henry Berol, heir to Eagle Pencil Co. Berol died in 1976 and the plantation was purchased in 1992 by the Army Corps of Engineers as a public wildlife area.
“It’s gotten to be a real point of interest since the state took it over,’’ said wildlife biologist Haven Barnhill of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, which manages the property.
“Today, velvety moss creeps between the bricks along the front wall and the wrought iron cemetery gates are rarely opened,” Pavey wrote. “But the marble monuments are a testament to a glorious bird-hunting past.”
There’s Sierra June, buried in 1968, whose epitaph reads, “needless departure.” Lucky Lady’s tombstone points out that she was unlucky. Wrangler Sam’s refers to him as “almost great.” Tarheel Jack, according to his grave marker “met an early death due to neglect.”
Today, in addition to public hunting, hiking and recreation opportunities, Di-Lane Plantation is used for research programs designed to foster the return of Georgia wildlife, including quail, Barnhill said. Plans call for the cemetery to remain as it is, preserved for future generations.
(Photo: Augusta Chronicle)
Posted by John Woestendiek January 19th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alabama, animals, army corps of engineers, bird dogs, burial, buried, bury, cemetery, coonhounds, di-lane plantation, dog, eagle pencil, epitaphs, georgia, graves, henry berol, monuments, pets, plnatation, tombstones, waynesboro
Reports of Casey Johnson’s funeral have been greatly exaggerated.
Both TMZ and RadarOnline reported the heiress was buried Sunday — without her dog Zoe, who is reportedly still alive.
Now, still more celebrity-centric websites are reporting that information was erroneous. No funeral has taken place.
Nicky Hilton and Bijou Phillips, Johnson’s lifelong friends, went to the home Johnson shared with Tila Tequila last week to pick up Johnson’s two dogs, Zoe and Elvis.
Johnson before her death had expressed her wishes to be buried with Zoe’s cremated remains, and Tequila insisted there were plans to put the dog asleep so that it could be buried with the Johnson & Johnson heiress.
Spokesmen for the family have denied the claim.
The whole thing — too many celebrities, too much drama, too many lies, too many abbreviations and all the shabby reporting – is giving OMD a headache.
Posted by John Woestendiek January 11th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bijou phillips, burial, buried, bury, casey johnson, celebrities, celebrity, cremated, dogs, elvis, erroneous, error, euthanized, funeral, nicky hilton, put to sleep, radar online, tila tequila, tmz, zoe, zoey
On a dreary Labor Day in 1937, Key Underwood wrapped his faithful hunting companion of 15 years in a cotton sack, buried him in a three-foot deep grave in a meadow in northwest Alabama and used a hammer and a screwdriver to chisel his dog’s name into a rock: Troop.
Since then, 184 more hunting dogs from across the U.S. have been laid to rest in the remote wilderness of Freedom Hills — all of them coonhounds.
The Key Underwood Coon Dog Memorial Graveyard is, according to its website, the only cemetery in the U.S. that allows only coonhounds.
The burial spot was a popular hunting camp “where coon hunters from miles around gathered to plot their hunting strategies, tell tall tales, chew tobacco and compare coon hounds. Those comparisons usually began and ended with Troop … He was the best around.”
Troop, who was half redbone coonhound and half birdsong, was known throughout the region as the best, according to the website, and after his burial, other hunters started burying their favorite coon dogs at the same site.
The coonhound cemetery’s headstones are crafted of wood, rock and sometimes sheet metal, and they pay homage to dogs with names like Patches, Preacher, Smoky, Bean Blossom Bomma and Night Ranger. Often, etched along with the names, are brief tributes such as one that reads: ”He wasn’t the best, but he was the best I ever had.”
In a 1985 interview, Underwood said he once received a letter from a woman in California, asking why other breeds couldn’t be buried there. “You must not know much about coon hunters and their dogs,” he responded, “if you think we would contaminate this burial place with poodles and lap dogs.”
To qualify for burial in the cemetery, the dog’s owner must claim their pet is an authentic coon dog, a witness must testify to the same, and a member of the local coonhunters’ organization must be allowed to view the coonhound to confirm its breed.
“We have stipulations on this thing,” says the cemetery’s caretaker, William O. Bolton, secretary/treasurer of the Tennessee Valley Coon Hunters Association. “A dog can’t run no deer, possum — nothing like that. He’s got to be a straight coon dog, and he’s got to be full hound. Couldn’t be a mixed up breed dog, a house dog.”
Posted by John Woestendiek December 31st, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: alabama, animals, breeds, burial, bury, cemetery, coon dogs, coon hounds, coon hunters, coondogs, coonhound, coonhounds, death, dog, freedom hills, hunting, hunting dogs, key underwood, pets, troop, video
As a footnote to our discussion yesterday on animals and emotions, we bring you the story of Dorothy, a female chimpanzee in her late 40s when she died last year of congestive heart failure.
As the photo above shows, a crowd of fellow chimps gathered and watched solemnly as she was wheeled to her burial.
The November issue of National Geographic magazine features the photograph, which has since “gone viral,” turning up in websites, TV shows and newspapers around the world, according to a National Geographic blog
The photographer, Monica Szczupider, is a volunteer at Cameroon’s Sanaga-Yong Chimpanzee Rescue Center, where Dorothy had lived for eight years. The center houses and rehabilitates chimps victimized by habitat loss and the illegal African bushmeat trade.
After a hunter killed her mother, Dorothy was sold as a “mascot” to an amusement park in Cameroon, where she spent the next 25 years tethered by a chain around her neck, and was taught to drink beer and smoke cigarettes for the amusement of onlookers.
In May 2000, Dorothy was rescued and relocated along with ten other primates. As her health improved, she cared for an orphaned chimp named Bouboule and became a close friend to many others, including Jacky, the group’s alpha male, and Nama, another amusement-park refugee.
“Her presence, and loss, was palpable, and resonated throughout the group,” Szczupider said. “The management at Sanaga-Yong opted to let Dorothy’s chimpanzee family witness her burial, so that perhaps they would understand, in their own capacity, that Dorothy would not return. Some chimps displayed aggression while others barked in frustration. But perhaps the most stunning reaction was a recurring, almost tangible silence.”
Posted by John Woestendiek November 5th, 2009 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, blog, burial, cameroon, chimp, chimpanzee, chimpanzee rescue, dorothy, emotions, funeral, grief, grieving, magazine, mourn, mourning, national geographic, sanaga-yong
No Paws Left Behind, an animal welfare group in Houston, has launched a drive to raise money to bury or build a memorial to Bob Emery, the Florida hurricane relief worker who was killed trying to rescue three dogs from a Houston freeway.
Meanwhile, the Houston Chronicle reported that the owners of the three dogs Emery was trying to rescue say they are grateful for his efforts.
“You just don’t meet people with hearts like that,” said the dogs’ owner, who the Chronicle identified only as Jackie.
Robert “Bob” Emery, 54, was killed the night of Sept. 27 when he was struck by a motorcycle as he tried to reach the three dogs, huddled on the East Freeway median. The dogs were later rescued by animal control officers.
Emery’s death has rallied animal lovers, who have vowed that Emery — who lived alone in a trailer in Florida until he was recently evicted – won’t be buried as a pauper, even if his family is never located, the Chronicle reported.
Emery had traveled to Texas as part of a crew of about a dozen men from Florida wanted to help in the hurricane relief efforts and make some money.
Jackie said she and her husband are senior citizens and lifelong animal lovers who took in two of the dogs after finding them abandoned as puppies in a Houston park. The third dog was also a young stray they had adopted.
The three dogs had escaped from their yard about two days before the accident.
By Wednesday, she had picked them from the city kennel. Two of the dogs, Honey and Nicky, were fine, but Sweetie, a reddish retriever mix had a badly mangled paw and is hardly able to walk.
The Houston nonprofit group, No Paws Left Behind, has been taking up a collection to hold a funeral or otherwise memorialize Emery. For information on how to contribute, click here.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 7th, 2008 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animal welfare, bob emery, burial, dog, dogs, freeway, hurricane ike, killed, memorial, motorcycle, news, no paws left behind, rescue, robert emery
A sad story just got a little sadder.
Bob Emery, the Hurricane Ike relief worker who died while trying to rescue three dogs trapped on an interstate highway, appears to be headed for a pauper’s funeral.
The 54-year-old repairman lived alone on Big Pine Key, Fla. He had a trailer with a view of the sea and was apparently estranged from family, the Houston Chronicle reported.
“We are trying to locate family to notify them of this person’s death,” said Beverly Begay, chief investigator with the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office. If no family is found, and no one claims the body, it would be given a pauper’s burial, Begay said.
The three dogs Emery was trying to reach when he was struck by a motorcycle and killed were rescued by Houston animal-control officers and returned to their families.
Emery’s, meanwhile, has yet to be found.
“He lived in Big Pine alone, and didn’t have a wife or girlfriend that I know of,” said Sandy Downs, whose husband knew Emery for about five years. “I’m having trouble tracking down the rumor he had two older daughters.”