Thursday, 22 March 2018

First evidence of live-traded dogs for Maya ceremonies


Date:  March 19, 2018
Source:  Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute

Police detectives analyze isotopes in human hair to find out where a murder victim was born and grew up. Ashley Sharpe, an archaeologist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, and colleagues combined clues from carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and strontium isotope analysis discovering the earliest evidence that the Maya raised and traded dogs and other animals, probably for ceremonial use.

Their results are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences during the week of March 19.

"In Asia, Africa and Europe, animal management went hand-in-hand with the development of cities," said Sharpe. "But in the Americas people may have raised animals for ceremonial purposes. The growth of cities doesn't seem to be directly tied to animal husbandry."

Sharpe found that animal trade and management began in the Preclassic Period some 2,500 years ago and intensified during the Classic Period, making it likely that organized ceremonies involving animal and human sacrifice and raising animals for food played important roles in the development of Maya civilization.


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