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By Piers Mitchell

Excavations of scientific tuition and workhouse cemeteries undertaken in Britain within the final decade have unearthed attention-grabbing new proof for how that our bodies have been dissected or autopsied within the eighteenth and 19th centuries. This booklet brings jointly the newest discoveries through those organic anthropologists, along specialists within the early heritage of pathology museums in British clinical faculties and the Royal collage of Surgeons of britain, and clinical historians learning the social context of dissection and post-mortem within the Georgian and Victorian classes. jointly they exhibit a formerly unknown view of the perform of anatomical dissection and the position of museums during this interval, in parallel with the attitudes of the overall inhabitants to the learn of human anatomy within the Enlightenment.

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Virchow, A Description and Explanation of the Method of Performing PostMortem Examinations in the Dead-House of the Berlin Charité Hospital, With Especial Reference to Medico-Legal Practice, from Charit-Annalen, trans. P. Smith (London: J. & A. Churchill, 1876). 38 A Star of the First Magnitude 35 in surgical techniques of national renown were presented by Carden, and Hastings prolifically published work on morbid anatomy and disease aetiology. Hastings had also founded an anatomical museum,42 containing some of the pathological cases amputated.

Thus it is possible that more individuals were autopsied at Newcastle Infirmary than is indicated by the skeletal evidence alone. While craniotomies have been found in skeletons from other eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century cemeteries (for example, at Christ Church, Spitalfields),15 the evidence for post-mortem procedures appears to be more frequent amongst the remains from the Newcastle Infirmary burial ground. The bulk of the evidence for amputation consists of distal bone segments, and in most instances these specimens are interpreted as items of surgical waste that were initially deposited in shallow pits within the hospital precincts.

A false-start kerf located on the anterior surface of the chin indicated the anterior surface as being the origin of the cut. Sectioning the mandible sagitally would allow a cross-section of the jaw and possibly the remainder of the head, if it was also cut, to be viewed. One sphenoid had been bisected at the spheno-occipital junction (clivus) in order to separate the element from the cranium. 3). These cut marks in the frontal and occipital bones were present amongst the assemblage. Overall, the nature of the cuts observed here corroborates the evidence from the long bones for anatomical study having taken place at the Infirmary.

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