School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Staff Profile

Dr Eric Tourigny

Lecturer in Historical Archaeology


I joined Newcastle University in January 2018 as Lecturer in Historical Archaeology. Previously, I was a sessional lecturer in Archaeology at my hometown institution of Laurentian University in Sudbury, Canada. Prior to undertaking my PhD, I worked as an archaeological field director in northern British Columbia.

Area of Expertise

Identification and analysis of animal bones; archaeologies of food and human-animal relationships; Treatment of pets in the post-medieval period; 17th-19th century British settlement of Canada.


PhD in Archaeology, University of Leicester, 2016

M.A. in Archaeology, Memorial University of Newfoundland, 2009

B.Sc. in Anthropology, Laurentian University, 2007

External appointments

Assistant Editor for Post-Medieval Archaeology
Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

ORCID number: 0000-0003-3262-9885 web page
Google Scholar

Post-graduate supervision

I am happy to supervise PhD projects on any topic related to my own research interests. Additionally, I can co-supervise with other colleagues on topics combining zooarchaeological analyses with their areas of interest. Informal enquiries are welcomed and I am always happy to discuss the development of potential topics.

Learn more about our research degrees and how to apply by clicking here.


Research interests:

  • Historical zooarchaeology, paleopathology, 
  • Archaeology of dogs
  • Food and identity
  • human-animal relationships
  • Commemoration and memorialisation of animals
  • Historical archaeology of Canada
  • North Atlantic fisheries
  • Historic North America and post-medieval Britain
  • Provisioning frontier settlements

Current and past projects

Archaeology of the animal welfare movement

My current research investigates the origins of the modern animal welfare movement using a combination of archaeological and historical evidence. Experts often point to the Victorian period as a watershed in British society’s changing attitudes towards pet animals: marked by the appearance of various institutions like the RSPCA, animal shelters and an increased number of laws dedicated to their protection.  Others argue these institutions better protected the wealthy pet owner rather than the animals. This project investigates whether or not changing attitudes actually resulted in the improved treatment of the animal body.  Through an investigation of post-medieval pet burials, it tracks the incidence of trauma and disease as well as changes in nutrition to determine whether or not the animal body benefited from changing attitudes.

Remembering Fido – Tracing the memorialisation of pets in the British landscape

As part of the study on changing attitudes towards animals, I am conducting an archaeological investigation into the memorialisation of pets across the British Landscape. The roles occupied by animals in society changed during the post-medieval period and this is documented in the ways the dead were treated and memorialised. The locations of memorials as well as the shapes they took and the inscriptions they hold inform on how people conceptualised the roles of animals within the family and their place in the afterlife. The distribution of memorials across the landscape traces the propagation of new attitudes throughout society and across the country.  

Upper Canada foodways – food habits and identity among immigrant populations

This research identified and described the diets and foodways of recent immigrant groups in the newly formed province of Upper Canada (southern Ontario) in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The project provided a critical examination of the relationship between food and identity through an exploration of the archaeological remains of animal bones and historical documents. It identified the development of local cuisines and explored the influence of British working-class traditions on the development of early Canadian identities.

Elite foodways of 17th-century fishing plantations

This project investigated food consumption as markers of socio-economic status amongst residents of a 17th-century fishing station in Newfoundland, Canada. Zooarchaeological data were interpreted alongside historical documents to explore how wealth and status played out in remote plantations through differential access to food, not as a result of greater purchasing power but as a product of more access to spare time.


Research grants, awards and fellowships:

I have received funding from the following organizations:

-Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

-Institute of Social and Economic Research

-JR Smallwood Foundation

-Canadian Polar Commission

-University of Leicester

-Memorial University of Newfoundland

-Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology


I am Degree Programme Director for the MA in Archaeology.

Coordinator for following modules:

ARA2097 – Historical Archaeology of the Modern World

ARA3117 – The Archaeology of Animal Bones

ARA8291 – Graduate Seminar in Historical Archaeology: Archaeologies of European Expansion

ARA8290 – Research Themes, Theory and Skills in Archaeology II

Contributor to the following modules:

ARA1001 – Stuff: Living in a Material World

ARA1026 – Introduction to Archaeological Science

ARA1027 – Introduction to Archaeology

ARA1030 – The Archaeology of Britain from the Romans to the 20th Century

ARA2004 – Animals, Plants and People: An Introduction to Environmental Archaeology

ARA3031 – Historical Archaeology of Britain

ARA3036 – Neolithic and Early Bronze Age Britain in European Context

ARA8294 – Graduate Seminar in Post-Medieval Artefacts