A hoard of historic finds, including Roman pottery, medieval remains and the bones of an 11th-century dog have been found at the heart of Cambridge University during an excavation to mark its 800th anniversary.In our twenty-first century suburban household, Penny works hard for her keep. She brings us joy by making us laugh; warns us of approaching visitors or strangers; makes sure the possums stay up in the treetops; maintains our fitness levels by taking us for a long walk each day; keeps us young by making us go to classes for agility, canine freestyle and sometimes tracking; teaches us how to rest and how to stop to smell the roses (well, smell something along the way).
Dogs have always earned their keep. I've posted previously about how they changed the history of Tasmania by assisting their convict owners to hunt kangaroos without guns. And there are countless ways in which dogs assisted past societies to make ends meet.
In Cambridge in England, in the heart of the ancient University, the skeleton of a dog has been found, along with boundary markings and signs of quarrying, all proof of a vibrant Anglo-Saxon settlement before the Norman invasion.
Richard Newman, site director with the Cambridge Archaelogical Unit, believes the dog would have been a valuable ally for the self-sufficient family that owned it.
"It would have been a working animal and an essential part of the household at the time, used for tasks such as catching rabbits. A dog would also have given people security, it was useful when it came to protecting your possessions, and it was cheaper than a lock!"If you'd like to read more, go to News for Medievalists. It's a fascinating blog for those interested in medieval history around the world.