Excavations of medical school and workhouse cemeteries undertaken in Britain in the last decade have unearthed fascinating new evidence for the way that bodies were dissected or autopsied in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This book brings together the latest discoveries by these biological anthropologists, alongside experts in the early history of pathology museums in British medical schools and the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and medical historians studying the social context of dissection and autopsy in the Georgian and Victorian periods. Together they reveal a previously unknown view of the practice of anatomical dissection and the role of museums in this period, in parallel with the attitudes of the general population to the study of human anatomy in the Enlightenment.
Dr Piers Mitchell is one of Britain's leading biological anthropologists, and is also trained as a medical historian and anatomist. He teaches at the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology in the University of Cambridge.
'... for the gripping (if gory) details of the haptic and material history of anatomy, this book should be on the shelf of any serious historian of anatomical education or student of the social history of British medicine.' Social History of Medicine 'Scholars researching the history of anatomy will find much of this book a useful and welcome addition, particularly its focus both within and outwith metropolitan London, and the archaeological and statistical evidence of some common anatomical practices. For those working on the history of anatomy museums, Chaplin’s work on the Hunterian Museum and the ’museum oeconomy’ is especially important.' British Journal for the History of Science