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By Piers Mitchell

Excavations of clinical institution and workhouse cemeteries undertaken in Britain within the final decade have unearthed interesting new facts for how that our bodies have been dissected or autopsied within the eighteenth and 19th centuries. This ebook brings jointly the most recent discoveries via those organic anthropologists, along specialists within the early historical past of pathology museums in British scientific colleges and the Royal university of Surgeons of britain, and clinical historians learning the social context of dissection and post-mortem within the Georgian and Victorian sessions. jointly they show 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 examine of human anatomy within the Enlightenment.

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244. , p. 36; Lane, A Social History of Medicine, p. 27. 51 Richardson, Death, Dissection and the Destitute, p. 87. 4 37 Serial cut marks adjacent to an area of new woven bone formed in response to local inflammation. This would be compatible with the investigation by anatomists of soft-tissue pathology active at the time of death. 53 The public outrage at the licentious procurement and treatment of bodies culminated in Warburton’s Anatomy Act of 1832, legislation that Hastings and his colleagues vehemently campaigned for.

Even after 1832, when bodies could be procured and dissected more easily, it was a requirement of the new Anatomy Act that bodies should receive a decent Christian burial. Whilst it was intended that freshly removed and dissected body parts should have been covered by the Act also, this was in fact something of a grey area,49 and hence in London the trade in body parts was much more prevalent than bodies. In effect, the Act was silent regarding the treatment of organs removed during post-mortems and skeletal teaching specimens, as is the current Human Tissue Act (2004) with anatomical preparations over 100 years old.

G. Lane, A Social History of Medicine, p. 28. 2 29 An example of the ‘Carden amputation’ (transcondylar bisection through femoral condyles) from the skeletal assemblage. 18 It should not be assumed, however, that even a clear example of a postmortem bisection represents a practice attempt at an amputation technique. Prior to the advent of effective preservation methods, it may be that some areas of the body were severed and disposed of prior to others that formed the basis for prosections. 19 Physical evidence of anatomical preparation is present in the form of elements stained an inky brown/black or green colour.

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