New Evidence of the Earliest Domestic Dogs in the Americas


While the arrival of domesticated dogs with an initial human migration has been the most reasonable explanation for their presence in the Americas, evidence for Paleoindian dogs has proven elusive. Here, we present the identification and direct radiocarbon dating of an isolated dog burial from Stilwell II, an Early Archaic site in the Lower Illinois River Valley. We also present new direct radiocarbon dates for two dogs from the nearby Archaic Koster site. These dates confirm that the Stilwell II and Koster dogs represent the earliest directly-dated evidence for domesticated dogs in the Americas and the oldest intentional burials of individual dogs known in the worldwide archaeological record. The appearance of the earliest domesticated dogs in the Midwest around 10,000 years ago presents a conundrum both temporally and spatially. If dogs arrived with the first migrating human groups, the earliest dog remains should appear in northern and western North America during the Paleoindian period.

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New Evidence of the Earliest Domestic Dogs in the Americas. Angela Perri, Chris Widga, Terrance Martin, Dennis Lawler, Thomas J. Loebel. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444504)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -168.574; min lat: 7.014 ; max long: -54.844; max lat: 74.683 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 20859