Osteoarchaeological evidence for medical dissection in 18th to 19th century Aberdeen, Scotland.

Rebecca Crozier* (Corresponding Author), Alison Cameron, Bruce Mann, Elizabeth Ashcroft, Rachel Wood

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper describes the analysis of a small assemblage of fragmentary human
remains discovered during renovations in a residential property in Aberdeen City, Scotland. Two sets of cranial remains display clear evidence for dissection/autopsy activities; a craniotomy and a trephination. Radiocarbon dating places them in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, arguably contemporary with the passing of the Anatomy Act of 1832. Drawing together evidence from osteological analysis, radiocarbon dating, historical sources and the context of discovery, it is argued that the assemblage may have been generated by ‘resurrectionist’ activities associated with the clandestine acquisition of cadavers for anatomical dissection.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPost-Medieval Archaeology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 24 Nov 2020

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