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Digital Companion to 'Dog Remains from the Marismas Nacionales'

Content related to a chapter in 'The Archaeology of Mesoamerican Animals'

Project Abstract

Project Note

This content pertains to the chapter 'Dog Remains from the Marismas Nacionales' in The Archaeology of Mesoamerican Animals (Christopher Götz and Kitty F. Emery, eds.), published by Lockwood Press. The Archaeology of Mesoamerican Animals is an edited volume that links many of its chapters to rich digital content published open access with Open Context. The authors have chosen to link their chapters to related online content (including primary data, maps, and additional images) in order to provide additional research resources in their subject area. The Archaeology of Mesoamerican Animals is available for purchase from ISD.


The Marismas Nacionales is a large estuary in the states of Sinaloa and Nayarit on the west coast of Mexico. Archaeological investigations conducted by Stuart Scott in that area included burial mounds that date from 700 to 1300 CE (Scott 1967–1974). George Gill excavated three large burial mounds and studied the human remains (Gill 1971). This paper examines the remains of animals interred with the human burials. Associated directly with the human remains were at least 42 dog (Canis familiaris) individuals, 13 of which are almost complete, allowing detailed measurements to describe the size and conformation of these animals. In addition, at least six raccoons (Procyon lotor) accompanied the human skeletons. Of the 53 dog canines 34 (64%) were broken during the life of the animal. Five of the nine raccoon skulls also had the front teeth shattered. The presence of dog remains associated closely with human remains may represent the belief described by Sahagun that a dog is necessary to carry the master 'across the nine rivers to the land of the dead' (Anderson and Dibble 1952). An incised design on a spindle whorl illustrates the conformation of at least some of the Marismas dogs, with pointed erect ears, upheld tail, and spots on the sides.

This digital compendium includes specimen identification and metric data to accompany the research presented here as well as a high quality image of the spindle whorl depicting the Marismas dogs as they may have appeared in life.

Site Names

Various sites in the Marismas Nacionales: Arrinitas, Chalpa, Cristo Rey, Juana Gomez, Mirador, Panales, Rincon de Panales, Tecualilla


700 to 1300 CE


Wing, Elizabeth, Curator Emerita, Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-7800, USA,

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Suggested Citation

Elizabeth S Wing. "Digital Companion to 'Dog Remains from the Marismas Nacionales'". (2017) In The Archaeology of Mesoamerican Animals. Christopher M Götz, Kitty F Emery (Eds.) . Released: 2017-02-12. Open Context. <> DOI:

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