Animals, science and empire: London’s animals as scientific objects

Author(s): James Morris

Year: 2013


Urban environments are places of change and discovery, where complex social and cultural boundaries are expressed and altered. As the transition to an industrial society occurred, with the associated intellectual advances and socio-economic developments, the roles and understanding of animals also changed. The 18th and 19th centuries see the increased exploitation and use of animals in physiological studies as scientific disciplines evolved from natural philosophy. These practices were often anthropocentric, linked to the concepts of gentleman scientists and the development of empire. This paper will examine the archaeology of animal scientific research in the urban environment using the remains from a number of recent excavations such as Royal London Hospital. Examining the life history of these remains shows the varied physical and meta-physical transformations animals in an urban environment underwent as they progressed from living creature to scientific object.

Cite this Record

Animals, science and empire: London’s animals as scientific objects. James Morris. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Leicester, England, U.K. 2013 ( tDAR id: 428224)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


anatomy exotic animals Trade

Geographic Keywords
United Kingdom Western Europe

Temporal Keywords

Spatial Coverage

min long: -8.158; min lat: 49.955 ; max long: 1.749; max lat: 60.722 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 303