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Name: Lauren Bellis

PhD: Archaeology

Thesis Title: A Dog's Life: An Interdisciplinary Study of Changing Human-Animal Relationships in Roman Britain


Thesis Description:

My research will investigate the impact of the Roman Empire on relationships between people and dogs in Britain. Looking at how the Roman annexation changed attitudes expressed towards animals can show how their views on the natural world changed. It can even reflect how humans treated one another; links have been shown between animal cruelty, domestic and child abuse. The introduction of new varieties of dog, particularly 'toy' dogs, may also have changed the roles dogs played in the lives of native Britons. 

Building upon my MA dissertation, which indicated low levels of intentional cruelty alongside significant differences in dog care between rural and urban Roman Britain, my work will investigate how dogs were traded and how relations with them changed in comparison to the Iron Age and Saxon periods. Remains of dogs, stable isotope analysis, textual sources and artwork will be used.

Supervisors and Institution(s): Dr Richard Thomas (University of Leicester) and Dr Naomi Sykes (University of Nottingham)


Publications (please include full details with page nos. or web links):

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Scholarly / Public Engagement Activities:


  • Bellis, L. Investigating ‘wild’ cattle to uncover causes of foot pathologies and identify past draught cattle. Presentation at the Postgraduate Zooarchaeology Forum, University College London, 20th June 2014.


  • Bellis, L. (Ro)man's best friend: a zooarchaeological approach to Romano-British social relations with dogs. Presentation at the Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference, University of Leicester, 27th-29th March 2015.
  • Bellis, L. Who cares about bones? The relevance of social zooarchaeology to wider archaeology. Accepted for presentation at the Theoretical Archaeology Group Conference, University of Bradford, 14th-16th December 2015.
  • Attendance at the University of Leicester Postgraduate Conference, 13th November 2015.


Other Research Interests:

  • Zooarchaeology
  • Animal palaeopathology
  • Roman archaeology
  • Environmental archaeology


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University email address:



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