25 skeletons, some with belt buckles, found at Cambridge University


Blackleaf
#1
More than 25 skeletons have been discovered in the centre of the Cambridge University campus, and archaeologists expect to discover dozens or more in the coming weeks.

The remains date back to a friary, based in the area between 1290 and 1538.

Despite being nearly 450 years old, the medieval skeletons are in good condition, the archaeologists said....

Cambridge archaeologists unearth 25 'perfectly preserved' skeletons from medieval Augustinian friary - and there could be many more


The remains date back to a friary, based in the area between 1290 and 1538

Despite being nearly 450 years old, the skeletons are in good condition

Many of the burials were accompanied by buckles, indicating the friars were buried with their black leather belts, a distinctive element of Augustinian dress

By Abigail Beall For Mailonline
27 January 2017

More than 25 skeletons have been discovered in the centre of the Cambridge University campus, and archaeologists expect to discover dozens or more in the coming weeks.

The remains date back to a friary, based in the area between 1290 and 1538.

Despite being nearly 450 years old, the medieval skeletons are in good condition, the archaeologists said.


The archaeology project started with the discovery of around 400 skeletons in 2010 at a burial site nearby. The newly discovered skeletons were found in the university's New Museums site, which contains the David Attenborough Building and the Museum of Zoology

The archaeology project started with the discovery of around 400 skeletons in 2010 at a burial site nearby.

Containing about 1,300 burials, including about 400 complete skeletons, it was found as part of the refurbishment of a Victorian building.

The newly discovered skeletons were found in the university's New Museums site, which contains the David Attenborough Building and the Museum of Zoology, and is set to undergo a major renovation, the BBC reported.

'The bones are really perfectly preserved apart from where early 20th Century foundations have chopped through them so in places you'll only get half a body,' site director Craig Cessford said, about the latest discovery.

'Even when the friary was in use they sometimes chopped through the burials - so it's not just in the modern period that the skeletons have been disturbed.'


More than 25 skeletons have been discovered in the centre of the Cambridge University campus, and archaeologists expect to discover dozens or more in the coming weeks


The researchers have discovered several large buildings that formed part of the friary cloisters, including the well preserved remains of the chapter house.

During medieval times, founders of friaries would 'set up their friary and mark off an area as a cemetery and they start burying people in nice neat rows'.

Discoveries of fine architectural stonework, window glass, decorated floor tiles and ornate roof tiles all demonstrate the high quality of the friary buildings.

Other finds include writing implements and book bindings that show the importance of literacy at the friary.

The team have also excavated in the region of thirty burials. Preliminary observations indicate that these are all or mainly men and are likely to be the friars who lived at the site.

Some individuals were probably as young as around ten years old, indicating they were probably novices.


Floor tiles unearthed at the burial site. Many of the burials were accompanied by buckles, indicating the friars were buried with their black leather belts, a distinctive element of Augustinian dress


Other finds include writing implements and book bindings that show the importance of literacy at the friary. The team have also excavated in the region of thirty burials. Preliminary observations indicate that these are all or mainly men and are likely to be friars



Many of the burials were accompanied by buckles (pictured), indicating the friars were buried with their black leather belts

Many of the burials were accompanied by buckles, indicating the friars were buried with their black leather belts, a distinctive element of Augustinian dress.

Some were even made from skeletal remains that appear to be made of elephant ivory.

'Eventually, after 100 or 150 year, they fill up their area and they just start back at the beginning again and we know they did that at least three times,' he added, noting that the area has the potential for more surprises.

The Cambridge Archaeological Unit (CAU) plans to keep searching for the next four weeks, and expect to recover up to 40 skeletons.

Specialist osteo-archaeologists will process, wash and study the skeletons as part of a joint project undertaken by the CAU and the university's Department of Archaeology, called After the Plague.

Skeletons of 25 medieval friars are unearthed | Daily Mail Online
Last edited by Blackleaf; Jan 27th, 2017 at 08:41 AM..
 
EagleSmack
#2
Man... the Brits buried there people everywhere. It seems like they can't put a shovel in the ground without finding a skeleton.
 
Blackleaf
#3
Quote: Originally Posted by EagleSmack View Post

Man... the Brits buried there people everywhere. It seems like they can't put a shovel in the ground without finding a skeleton.

Well these were buried at a friary which once occupied the spot where that Cambridge University campus now is. They weren't just dumped in a hole in a field out in the countryside.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQWkG...ature=youtu.be
 
EagleSmack
#4
Clearly they weren't dumped. I am just saying that often times when there is a construction project, up comes a monk, a plague victim, a pauper, a Roman, a KING!

It's all good though... this stuff interests me.
Last edited by EagleSmack; Jan 27th, 2017 at 12:31 PM..
 
Blackleaf
#5
Quote: Originally Posted by EagleSmack View Post

Clearly they weren't dumped. I am just saying that often times when there is a construction project up comes a monk, a plague victim, a pauper, a Roman, a KING!

It's all good though... this stuff interests me.

Think about all the plague pits that have been found in London alone:







'A terrible pit it was, and I could not resist my curiosity to go and see it. As near as I may judge, it was about forty feet in length, and about fifteen or sixteen feet broad, and at the time I first looked at it, about nine feet deep; but it was said they dug it near twenty feet deep afterwards in one part of it, till they could go no deeper for the water; for they had, it seems, dug several large pits before this. For though the plague was long a-coming to our parish, yet, when it did come, there was no parish in or about London where it raged with such violence as in the two parishes of Aldgate and Whitechappel.'

Daniel Defoe, author of Robinson Crusoe, describing a plague pit during the 1665/66 Great Plague of London where Aldgate Underground Station in London now is, in his book A Journal of the Plague Year (1722). Defoe was a small boy during the outbreak



 

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