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Remains of 'Upper-class' Infant Dating From 2,000 Years Ago Found Buried With Pet Dog in France

The infant, estimated to be a year old, was found in Aulnat in the Auvergne region of central France. (Credit: INRAP/Twitter)

The infant, estimated to be a year old, was found in Aulnat in the Auvergne region of central France. (Credit: INRAP/Twitter)

Modern-day France, Belgium and parts of Germany often were noted to cremate their adults but in case of children, they were usually buried on family lands.

Archeologists have discovered the 2,000-year-old remains of a child from a well-to-do family in the Auvergne region of central France but what has baffled archeologists are the remains of a pet dog which were also found alongside the infant's remains.

The infant's remains, estimated to be a year old year old, was discovered while a team was surveying the area for airport expansion. The remains are thought to be from the first century AD, when the Romans ruled France.

The remains also included clay jars, animal parts and a small toy. The pet puppy also had a decorative collar around its neck, the Daily Mail reported.

"Such a profusion of crockery and butchered items, as well as the personal effects that followed the child to his grave, underline the privileged rank to which his family belonged," the National Institute for Preventative Archaeological Research (INRAP) was reported as saying.

The INRAP, while conducting excavations chanced upon the archeological site in December. The excavations unearthed a wooden coffin and also included a number of animal sacrifices such as pig, pork cuts and a pair of headless chickens.

The site also contained 20 terracotta vases and glass pots that might have contained medicine, cosmetics. There was also a baby tooth seemingly belonging to possibly an older child found inside the grave. The puppy's skeleton was found at the bottom of the coffin and had a collar with decorations in bronze and a small bell.

Archeologists who made the discovery reportedly said that the collar and the bell found inside the coffin establishes the fact that the child must have belonged to a fairly upper class family and hence the number of offerings were also unusual for a child's burial. The burial site seems to be that of the oldest child, they believed.

Modern-day France, Belgium and parts of Germany often were noted to cremate their adults but in case of children, they were usually buried on family lands. Chief archaeologist Laurence Lautier was also reported as saying that in such tombs, one or two pots were often seen placed at the foot of the burial site but in this case there were at least 20 offerings, which indicated the family was a well-to-do one.

Excavations at the site have often thrown up materials and evidence belonging to the Iron Age, High Middle Ages among others.

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