The Early Modern Silesian Gallows (15th–19th Century) as an Example of Stray Animals Utilization before the Rise of Institutional Veterinary Care
Aleksander Chrószcz , Dominik Poradowski , Paweł Duma , Maciej Janeczek , Przemysław Spychalski
AbstractIn the past, executioners played an important role in the legal system. Besides sentence executions, they also worked as dogcatchers (i.e., eliminating stray animals or cadavers of dead animals from towns), and were responsible for sanitary conditions within their towns and closest neighborhoods. Archaeological explorations of gallows in the towns of Lower Silesia (Poland) provide evidence of such activities, including animal skeletal remains. Archaeozoological analysis of these materials from the towns Kamienna Góra (Landeshut), Złotoryja (Goldberg), and Jelenia Góra (Hirschberg) are the subjects of this study. Our work also stresses the nature of the executioner’s profession in animal health control and town hygiene maintenance before the development of modern veterinary services. The results show significant differences in the frequency of species and distribution of anatomical elements in accessible assemblages compared with animal skeletal remains unearthed in typical waste pits or classical inhumation, allowing the assumption that the animals were anatomically adults, and their health statuses were generally good. The dominant species, equids and dogs, were represented by skeletal remains, with the predominance of less valuable body parts (distal parts of appendices, caudal parts of the vertebral column). The fragmentation of accessible bone assemblages narrows the ability of larger conclusions (i.e., minimum number of individual estimations). The work enlightens the complex role of executioners pertaining to the hygiene of early modern town communities, a role later replaced by professional veterinarians with all of the consequences of the transition process.
|Journal series||Animals, ISSN 2076-2615, e-ISSN 2076-2615, (N/A 100 pkt)|
|Publication size in sheets||1.1|
|Keywords in English||gallows; animal; knackers’ yards; waste pits; utilization; dogcatcher|
|License||Journal (articles only); published final; ; with publication|
|Score||= 100.0, 27-04-2021, ArticleFromJournal|
|Publication indicators||: 2018 = 1.148; : 2019 = 2.323 (2)|
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