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1,500-Year-Old Turkish House Found With Ancient Paw Marks of Puppies and Goats

1500-year-old paw prints of puppies were found engraved on terracotta tiles in a house in Turkey | Image credit: President and Fellows of Harvard College

1500-year-old paw prints of puppies were found engraved on terracotta tiles in a house in Turkey | Image credit: President and Fellows of Harvard College

Adorable paw marks from puppies and wall drawings of chickens were discovered by archaeologists while excavating a 1,500-years-old building in Turkey.

Dogs have been a part of our lives for thousands of years. But finding ancient proof of our bond with furry little animals is relatively rare. In an adorable archaeological discovery, a team has discovered a 1,500-year-old house in Turkey with terracotta tiles, painting on the wall, great décor. But what’s most special? They have puppy prints on them! The tiles are riddled with paw prints of a small-sized dog or a puppy which most likely pressed into the material of the tiles.

“The tiles preserved the paw prints of puppies and in one rare case the hoofprint of a goat,” said Frances Gallart Marqués during a virtual presentation at the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) and the Society for Classical Studies (SCS). He supposes the animals must have walked onto the tile as they laid out drying. They found paintings on the tiles which may have been chickens or ducks.

According to Gallart Marqués, these were probably “finger-drawn before the tiles were fired.” He said the floor tiles would have matched well with the overall style of the house, based on the paintings and décor items recovered from the walls.

The colours, the decors, added with light that filtered through the many windows would have made for a “fantastic look” according to the researchers.

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“The wall paintings are painted on plaster and mimic draped curtains and polychrome marble,” said Vanessa Rousseau, an art history professor, during the meet. “One could imagine being “surrounded by the somewhat surreal fakery of painted marble and drapery” with light coming through the windows and "shining on those birds’ marks on the terracotta floor,” Rousseau added.

They believe the house might have belonged to people involved with the military of the time based on other objects recovered. Apart from the adorable prints and paintings, they found five-longswords that suggested involvement in warfare.

Only three other swords have been discovered from the whole excavated regions of Sardis. The Discovery of five from one house alone is “remarkable” according to the team. Buckles were also discovered from the house, which further suggested military involvement. They look like a part of a military outfit. They recovered lead seals which were used to stamp official documents. Added with the fact that the house was located in a central location, it suggests the person who owned it might be of importance; if not military, at least a civil authority.

The researchers suggested the house might have been in use for over 200 years but it was destroyed in an earthquake during the early seventh century.

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