A new article, written by Eric Tourigny et al., features some interesting findings regarding human-animal relationships in the 19th-century, based on scientific analyses of a dog burial from the Bell Site (excavated by ASI in 2011). The study is now available in the latest issue of the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology. ASI loaned the canine remains to the researchers, whose work was based at the University of Leicester. Although the dog is still currently in the U.K., he will be returning to ASI by Christmas.
An Osteobiography of a 19th-Century Dog from Toronto, Canada
A 19th-century dog burial uncovered from a historical homelot in Toronto, Canada, provided a unique opportunity to reconstruct the individual’s osteobiography. Of particular interest are the dog’s very large size and a suite of skeletal pathologies. Recovery of a nearly complete skeleton combined with the use of X-rays and micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) allowed for a discriminating differential diagnoses. Stable isotope analyses were applied to investigate questions of diet. Results reveal an individual who suffered greatly from disease towards the end of his life and hint at its owners attitudes towards dogs. The interdisciplinary approach applied to this case study highlights the potential information obtainable from pet burials. We argue that better analyses and reporting of pet burials will help address research questions targeting broader themes related to human–animal relationships. Copyright © 2015 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.