Canine Aggression and Canine Affection in Eighteenth Century Williamsburg: Analyzing the Dog Burials at the Anderson Armoury site

Summary

Dog burials are exceptional for the eighteenth century in the Chesapeake, yet recent excavations at the Anderson Armory site have recovered at least six interred animals adjacent to a large sawpit while the remains of roosters and other small animals were recovered within the sawpit. The proximity and number of these burials to the sawpit may indicate that organized dog and cock fighting took place at the Armoury site. Bloodsports were popular in eighteenth-century Virginia, and the role of domestic animals was an ambiguous one; animals were laborers and entertainment, but also sometimes affectionately regarded pets. At least one burial, carefully interred with other artifacts, problemetizes a dog-fighting interpretation. This paper will explore what the skeletal, archaeological, and documentary records contribute to our understanding of the presence of these uncommon burials at the Armoury site, and the role of dogs in Virginia in the eighteenth century.

Cite this Record

Canine Aggression and Canine Affection in Eighteenth Century Williamsburg: Analyzing the Dog Burials at the Anderson Armoury site. Dessa Lightfoot, Katherine R. Wagner, Andrew Edwards, Joanne Bowen. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 436649)

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-9,03