A Note on the Role of Dogs in Anglo-Saxon Society: Evidence from East Anglia

Pam J. Crabtree

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    This paper examines the roles that dogs played in Anglo-Saxon (420-1066 CE) society in East Anglia, drawing on data from the Late Roman site of Icklingham and the Anglo-Saxon sites of West Stow, Brandon and Ipswich in Suffolk, England. The archaeological context of these dog finds is described, along with zooarchaeological data on dog sizes, ages at death and paleopathology. The data indicate that Early and Middle Anglo-Saxon dogs are less varied than Late Roman dogs. Ageing and paleopathological data indicate that the West Stow dogs, in particular, had hard lives. Early and Middle Saxon dogs from East Anglia were relatively large, with an estimated withers height of about 60cm. They may have served as guard dogs and herding dogs. The West Stow dogs may also have been involved in hunting and fighting. Late Saxon dogs from Ipswich reveal an increasing morphological diversity, suggesting that they played multiple roles in Late Anglo-Saxon urban sites.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)976-980
    Number of pages5
    JournalInternational Journal of Osteoarchaeology
    Issue number6
    StatePublished - Nov 1 2015


    • Anglo-Saxon England
    • Brandon
    • Dogs
    • Icklingham
    • Ipswich
    • West Stow
    • Zooarchaeology

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Archaeology
    • Anthropology
    • Archaeology


    Dive into the research topics of 'A Note on the Role of Dogs in Anglo-Saxon Society: Evidence from East Anglia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this