Dogs of Death: An Evaluation of Canid Remains from a Mortuary Eneolithic Cave Site in Ukraine

Author(s): Trisha Jenz; Sarah Ledogar; Jordan Karsten

Year: 2018


Burials of dog skulls and full dog skeletons have been uncovered at several Eneolithic Tripolye (5100-2900 cal BC) sites suggesting that dogs held a special symbolic role for the Tripolye compared to other domestic fauna. To evaluate human-dog relationships in Tripolye culture and funerary context, we examined dogs from a single mortuary site (Site 17) located in Verteba Cave (3951-2620 cal BC), Ternopil Oblast, Western Ukraine. Symbolic representations of canids have been observed on some pottery sherds found at the site. The faunal sample (n=7560) from Site 17 contains mainly domestic mammals (n=1389, 18%) and shell (n=577, 8%). Canids (n=122) are rare and comprise around 2% of the faunal sample and only 9% of the domestic fauna. The dog remains are from at least six individuals - three adults and three subadults. Individual teeth were the most common dog elements recovered, including two perforated canines and one perforated lower first molar. These teeth may have been a component of body ornamentation that was incorporated into the Tripolye burial practices or deposits. The other dog elements found in context with other feasting deposits suggest that they were consumed as a part of Tripolye mortuary ritual.

Cite this Record

Dogs of Death: An Evaluation of Canid Remains from a Mortuary Eneolithic Cave Site in Ukraine. Trisha Jenz, Sarah Ledogar, Jordan Karsten. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443077)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Spatial Coverage

min long: 19.336; min lat: 41.509 ; max long: 53.086; max lat: 70.259 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 22099