might have been a treasured pet, or the victim of traditional destruction
of property after its owner's death. The reason for its burial remains
18 centuries ago, someone carefully positioned the body of a small
dog in what was likely a shallow grave in the marshlands of Laguna
Canyon, then turned over a stone grinding bowl to cover the animal.
years ago, the dog's burial place was discovered by archaeologists
keeping watch for artifacts during the widening of Laguna Canyon
Thursday night, scientists will give a talk on the discovery of
the dog burial, among fewer than 10 ever found in Orange County.
The talk, hosted by the Pacific Coast Archaeological Society, is
free and open to the public.
dog was a techichi, or "small Indian dog," of a type that
was about the size of a terrier and that is now extinct. But the
scientists involved in the discovery know little else, including
why it was buried at all.
might have been just a pet burial," said Paul E. Langenwalter
II, a research archaeologist who teaches archaeology at Biola University.
"But it could be destruction of property. It was common to
kill the dog along with burning or destroying any other personal
property upon the death of the owner."
dog would have had erect ears and tail and stood about 15 inches
high at the shoulder. A radiocarbon date places it at about 1,790
years ago, Langenwalter said.
pet burials are uncommon, he said; fewer than 10 have been found
in Orange County, an area rich in Native American artifacts, and
only a few dozen are known statewide.
more intriguing are the positioning of the dog and the placement
of a "cairn" a rock marker, in this case a large
acorn grinding-bowl or metate on top of it.
cairn is rare, and the burial position having been folded
sideways is entirely new to archaeological knowledge within
dog burials are usually associated with Native American villages,
the area where the dog was found likely served only as a frequently
archaeologist Roderick McLean of LSA Associates, Inc., and Joyce
Perry, an Acjachemen scholar and manager for the Juaneño
Band of Mission Indians, will give a talk on the find at the Irvine
Ranch Water District, 15600 Sand Canyon Ave., Irvine, beginning
at 7 p.m. Thursday.