Photo: Dave Morris (flickr)
Our tale begins in 19th century England, on a sacred patch of ground behind the walls of Stafford Castle: the royal pet cemetery. On this somber day, we bury yet another dearly beloved family companion.
Before, only witches and other suspicious characters would let creatures and critters disrupt the sanctity of their homes. However, in the 17th century, the attitudes of the British people towards animals began to change. By the late 1800s, domestic pets had become all the rage! Some favorites included cats, dogs… and tortoises?
British archaeologists found a 130-year-old bone buried in the royal pet cemetery, providing evidence for what appears to be Britain’s earliest domesticated tortoise.
The fact that these animals were let into the home and their remains were respectfully buried, indicates a major cultural shift in people’s relationship with the animals they kept.
- Earliest Evidence of Pet Tortoise in Britain (BBCNews)
- Earliest Archaeological Evidence of Pet Tortoises Discovered (ScienceDaily)