Category Archives: MEDIEVAL

Medieval Priest’s Remains Unearthed in England

Medieval Priest’s Remains Unearthed in England

Over 50 burials unearthed by archaeologists in the Lincoln Cathedral included a remarkable medieval priest burial.

A skeleton is believed to be that of a medieval priest found, who had been buried in the area that is now the building’s West Parvis.

The priest had been carefully buried with a pewter chalice and paten, used during communion and key symbols of the work of the priest. Similar examples have been dated to as far back as the 12th and 13th centuries.

His burial is just one of more than 50 found immediately around the cathedral; from the West Front at the main entrance to the Dean’s Green to the north.

The burials were found during excavations by Lincoln-based Allen Archaeology Ltd as part of the National Lottery-funded Lincoln Cathedral Connected project. The excavations were to enable drainage works and landscaping around the cathedral.

The area between the West Front of the Cathedral and the neighboring Exchequergate Arch is known to have been used as a burial ground for the cathedral and the church of St Mary Magdalene in the Bailgate. Part of the area of the Dean’s Green was also used as a burial ground for the cathedral, as were the many green spaces surrounding it.

Excavating the priestly burial.

In addition to the skeletons excavated during the project, several other historic artifacts are currently being studied and dated. Some will be displayed as part of the new Lincoln Cathedral visitor center, which is due to open in summer 2020.

Other finds from the excavations include a hand from a statue that may be from a very early frieze, and a coin depicting the face of Edward the Confessor, the last king of the House of Wessex, who ruled from 1042 to 1066. The coin was minted between 1053 and 1056, so pre-dates the building of the current Cathedral.

Evidence was also uncovered of high-status Roman buildings in the area of the new visitor’s center, which is within a building previously used as a deanery.

Highly-decorated painted wall plaster from three different rooms, a near-complete incense burner, a perfume jar, and a Roman spoon were among the notable finds.

Some of the Roman wall plaster was painted with intricate flowers and leaves design, while the rest features colored bands. It may be possible for some to be reconstructed in the near future.

Edward the Confessor coin which is at least 964 years old.

Natasha Powers, Senior Manager at Allen Archaeology, said: “Since our work began on the Cathedral as part of the Connected project in 2016, we have uncovered significant evidence of Lincoln’s medieval, Saxon and Roman past.

“The objects we have found are not only beautiful and interesting in themselves but importantly they enable us to better interpret the lives of those who occupied the city in previous centuries.”

The decorated Roman plaster discovered at Lincoln Cathedral.
The decorated Roman plaster discovered at Lincoln Cathedral.

The overall project includes vital restoration and renovation works to the iconic building, which is due to be completed in 2022.

Further discoveries are expected after the excavation of Roman and medieval features around the gothic landmark.

Remains of medieval child found with other skeletons just yards from St Patrick’s grave in Northern Ireland

Remains of a medieval child found with other skeletons just yards from St Patrick’s grave in Northern Ireland

Medieval skeletons were found beside Down Cathedral in Downpatrick

The medieval skeletons were found beside Down Cathedral in Downpatrick, County Down.

Archaeologists first thought they had found the lost cemetery of 13th Century Benedictine monks.

But they have said the oldest skeleton is that of a five or six-year-old child who died almost 1,000 years ago.

Archaeologist Brian Sloan believes there is “more to be found” in Downpatrick

The most recent skeleton is that of a young woman, believed to be a late adolescent, buried between 1317 and 1429.

Experts said she was suffering from severe tooth abscesses at the time of her death and believe she may have traveled to the on-site monastery in search of medicine or prayer.

A community dig was led by archaeologists from Queen’s University in Belfast, working with volunteers to prepare the ground for the erection of a replica high cross. Visitors from around the world flocked to the area as the dig unfolded.

‘Rich picture of medieval life’

Ancient pottery and animal bones were also recovered in the buried kitchen of a 13th Century Benedictine Abbey as well as a flint tool dating to about 7,000 BC.

Blackberry seeds, sloe pips, fish bones and charred wheat grains from bread-making were also found.

Medieval jugs found during the dig have been carefully pieced together

Excavation director Brian Sloan said subsequent analysis, including radiocarbon dating of three of the skeletons, had uncovered a “rich picture of medieval life”.

Although analysis of the skeletons is ongoing, he said evidence showed the young child had lived and died before the Anglo-Norman invasion of 1177 AD.

He said the young woman had lived sometime between 1317-1429 AD when the site was occupied by the Benedictine Abbey.

Mr. Sloan said the other archaeological finds had offered an insight into life in the abbey and a glimpse into an 8th Century Christian monastic site.

“We can use this evidence to build up a picture of the diet and everyday activities of the monks who lived and prayed here,” he added.

An arrow head from 12th or 13th Centuries is among other items found during the excavation

“The large pottery shards have been painstakingly pieced together at Queen’s University Belfast giving an idea of the shape, size, and decoration of the vessels.

“A rich environmental picture is being established through the processing of the soil samples taken during the excavation.”

Metalwork recovered from an ancient pit has also been analyzed and include fine copper alloy dress pins, a socketed arrowhead, a horseshoe, a pair of iron shears and a length of chain with a suspension hook still attached.

A number of items are now on display in the High Cross Gallery at Down County Museum in Downpatrick, in two new cases funded by the British Museum Trust, while research work continues on the collection of artifacts, dating from the Mesolithic (c. 7000 BC) period.

Mr. Sloan added: “This is fantastic as Downpatrick has almost been ignored from an archaeological and historical point of view. “It has got my blood flowing. I believe there is more to be found.”

Skeleton of man who had his throat slit by Anglo Saxon executioners 1,000 years ago is uncovered during excavations for a new wind farm

Skeleton of man who had his throat slit by Anglo Saxon executioners 1,000 years ago is uncovered during excavations for a new wind farm.

During the excavation job for a wind farm, remains of a Man believed to be the victim of an execution that killed 1,000 years ago were discovered.

During a dig in preparing for the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm, archeologists discovered the adult guy, aged between 25 and 35, with deadly cut marks on his throat.

The skeleton was recovered intact with the exception of a few small bones missing from the hands and feet.

He was laid facing upwards with his arms at his side in an East-West alignment, with no sign of a coffin.

A vertebrae from the skeleton 

The remains were found during surveying work for the route for onshore cabling on the South Downs at Truleigh Hill, north of Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex

Jim Stevenson, project manager for Archaeology South East, said:

“Specialist osteological assessment and radiocarbon dating have revealed that the skeleton is most likely to be an execution burial of the later Anglo Saxon period of around 1010 to 1025 AD.

“Most significantly, two cut marks made by a sharp blade or knife were found at the mid-length of the neck, which would have proved fatal for the individual.”

The skeleton was found during work for a wind farm 

The isolated burial was found along the ancient route of the South Downs Way in an area of known prehistoric graves recorded in the West Sussex Historic Environment Record.

It is believed some were once identifiable as visible surface burial mounds, were excavated in the 18th and 19th centuries and sometimes coincide with isolated burials.

The Rampion Offshore Wind Farm, 13km off the Sussex coast, is due to be fully operational later this year.

Once complete, it will provide enough electricity to supply almost 347,000 homes a year, equivalent to about half the homes in Sussex.

Plans for tennis court to be dug up to search for remains of Saxon King.

Plans for a tennis court to be dug up to search for remains of Saxon King.

Saint Edmund is believed to have been killed by the Vikings in the 9th century after refusing to denounce his Christianity.

His remains were kept in a shrine in Bury St Edmunds but were later lost during Henry VIII’s reign and the desecration of the Benedictine Abbey.

Now, Bury St Edmunds Believe it might have the remains of Saint Edmund, a Saxon monarch, buried under one of his tennis courts.

The Tennis courts in the grounds of Abbey Gardens Bury St Edmunds where archaeologists could be set to look for King Edmund’s remains

At the time of the desecration of the Benedictine Abbey, during Henry VIII’s reign, the remains were lost.

But historians believe the remains may well be below the tennis courts in Abbey Gardens, which sit on top of a former monks’ graveyard in the sedate East Anglian town.

Plans to move the courts are being considered so archaeologists may soon be allowed to look for King Edmund’s remains underneath.

The plans have the backing of St Edmundsbury Borough Council, who own the Abbey Gardens, near St Edmundsbury Cathedral.

Robert Everitt, the local councillor in charge of the project said: “It would be an incredibly important historical discovery if he was found under there.

“It is something the borough want to do and the cathedral are in agreement as well, but we need to ensure we replace the courts.

“We are looking at St James Middle School courts, which are not being used [as the school is closed]. They would be ideal and would ensure people can play tennis right next to Abbey Gardens.”

Academic researcher and historian Francis Young, who was born in Bury, said: “The commissioners who dissolved the Abbey on November 4, 1539, mentioned nothing about the body, and given St Edmund’s royal status it is likely they would have quietly allowed the monks to remove the body from the shrine and relocate it.

“According to a third-hand account from 1697, St Edmund was placed in an iron chest by a few monks but sadly the account does not give the location within the Abbey precincts where he was buried. On balance, however, the monks’ cemetery is the most likely location.”

His remains were kept in a shrine in Bury St Edmunds
His remains were kept in a shrine in Bury St Edmunds

If the monks did use an iron chest it would help archaeologists distinguish the monks’ graves from that of the king. A heritage partnership is tasked with preserving and promoting the Abbey ruins, with the removal of the courts aimed at improving the experience for visitors.

Edmund was the King of the East Angles in the 9th Century. It is widely accepted that Edmund was killed by Vikings. It is thought his place of death was somewhere in Suffolk or Norfolk.

His myth tells of brave King Edmund refusing to denounce his Christianity and being killed by several arrows. The Vikings then removed his head so Edmund could not be buried whole. However, loyal followers were able to find his head after a wolf called to them, shouting “here, here, here”.

Shortly after his death, a shrine containing his remains was built in the Abbey in a town called Bedericesworth.

This town later became Bury St Edmunds and the most popular and famous pilgrimage in England, visited by many kings. Saint Edmund later became the Patron Saint of England.

The Abbey was desecrated in the 16th Century when his remains are believed to have been removed from the shrine.