This paper aims to highlight the practice of body snatching from graves in the 1700s for the purpose of providing corpses for anatomical dissection, and for stocking anatomy museums. To do this, we examine the exhumation and dissection of the famous eighteenth-century novelist Laurence Sterne and explore the involvement of Charles Collignon, Professor of Anatomy at the University of Cambridge. We also show that osteological and cut-mark analysis of a skull purported to be that of Sterne, currently housed in the Duckworth Collection at Cambridge, provides the key to solving the mystery surrounding why Sterne was resurrected.
The authors would like to thank Maggie Bellatti for all of her help sourcing material in the Duckworth Collection and the archives.
The authors received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.
© The Author(s) 2015.
- Famous Persons
- History, 18th Century
- Literature, Modern/history