Archaeologists find 25 skeletons in medieval Cambridge friary

Cambridge-SkeletonMore than 25 skeletons have been unearthed by archaeologists investigating the site of a medieval friary in the centre of Cambridge.

Archaeologists say the skeletons are in good condition and they expect to find as many as 40 in the coming weeks.

The land was home to a friary between 1290 and 1538, making many of the remains 450 years old.

The discovery was made in the university’s New Museums site, which is about to undergo a major redevelopment.

Site director Craig Cessford said building work through the centuries has left a number of skeletons “chopped through”.

He said: “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.

“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.”

The Augustinian friary was founded in 1290 but fell victim to the dissolution of the monasteries in 1538 under Henry VIII.

Photo: ©Cambridge Archaeological Unit

Saxon workshop evidence found by amateur archaeologists in Somerset

Saxon ForgeAmateur archaeologists have unearthed what is believed to be a Saxon workshop in a dig in Somerset.

The foundations were uncovered along with a large Norman building at an undisclosed location on the Mendip Hills.

Saxon keys and a 13th Century jug were also among the finds.

Project leader Pip Osborne, said: “There’s no written record of a building here but ever since I moved here I’ve been intrigued by the field.”

The find was made by a community archaeology group on a plot of land near the centre of a Mendip village.

The land, according to Ms Osborne, was given to the Abbey of Jumieges in Normandy in France by William the Conqueror in about 1080.

“I had a hunch about this empty field. I ran the machines over it and there was an image of something quite strong on the geophysics and I thought this has to be investigated,” she said.

Major Viking Age manor discovered at Birka, Sweden

Sweden-Viking-BirkaDuring spring of 2016 a number of large presumed house terraces were identified by the authors at Korshamn. As a consequence high resolution geophysical surveys using ground-penetrating radar were carried out in September 2016.

Korshamn is one of the main harbour bays of the island of Björkö, situated outside the town boundaries of the Viking town of Birka. The survey revealed a major Viking period hall on the site, with a length of around 40 meters. Based on the land upheaval the area of the Viking hall can be dated to sometime after 810 AD. The hall is connected to a large fenced area that stretches towards the harbour basin.

“This kind of Viking period high status manors has previously only been identified at a few places in southern Scandinavia, for instance at Tissø and Lejre in Denmark. It is known that the fenced area at such manors was linked to religious activities” says Johan Runer, archaeologist at the Stockholm county museum.

During the survey a predecessor for the Viking Age manor was also identified at the site: a high status manor that existed during the Vendel period, prior to the establishment of the Viking Age town of Birka.

Both the identified buildings and their continued use from the Vendel period to the Viking Age correlate well with the “ancestral property” of Birka’s royal bailiff Herigar as mentioned in Rimbert’s Vita Anskarii. Herigar was Christianized by Ansgar, archbishop of Hamburg-Bremen, during his first mission c. 830 AD, and he built the first church on his land.

Leprosy in the Middle Ages – A Tale of Tragedy and Prejudice

pilgrim-graves-leprosy

Leprosy has always been a subject of interest among scientists, since there is and was a lot of controversy surrounding it. According to traditional theories, during the Middle Ages, when the disease was blooming, people afflicted by it were treated as outcasts – shunned by every layer of society and forced to live in shadows…

Workmen uncover Hartlepool Anglo-Saxon burial site while rebuilding a wall

Anglo-Saxon Hartlepool

An exciting historic find has been made on the Headland after workmen rebuilding a wall came across an Anglo-Saxon burial site. Remains of at least six people and the corner of a building believed to date back almost 1,400 years have been uncovered by archaeologists in an alley behind Gladstone Street. They are believed to…

Coins discovery ‘will re-write’ Anglo-Saxon history

Anglo-Saxon Hoard

The Anglo-Saxon coins are said to point to some sort of an alliance in the 870s between Alfred the Great and a rival. Historians say an entire chapter of the Anglo-Saxon period will have to be re-written after a metal detectorist found a huge hoard of coins in a field. James Mather made the discovery…

15 castles in Kent you can visit for a great family day out

Dover_Castle

Canterbury Castle © Tim Stubbings The ruined Norman castle, which was begun by William the Conqueror in 1070, is one of the most ancient in Britain. The castle became a ruin in the 17th century after it was constructed as one of the three royal castles in Kent in the reign of Henry I (1100-1135)….

New Trailer for King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

King-Arthur-Movie

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword directed by Guy Richie and starring Charlie Hunnam, Annabelle Wallis, Djimon Hounsou and Eric Bana and hits theaters on 24 March 2017. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword Synopsis: The young Arthur runs the back passages of Londonium with his crew, not knowing his royal lineage until he grabs…

Lost Kingdom of Rheged Discovered in Scotland

Rheged-hill-excavation

The archaeological site at Trusty’s Hill in Galloway, Scotland, is known to have been a cultural center for the Pict, the confederation of tribal peoples that lived in what is now northern and eastern Scotland during Roman times. After some five years of excavation, however, researchers working there now believe they have uncovered something far…

Medieval Winchester skeleton reveals how leprosy spread

medieval-leprosy-skeleton

The skeleton of a medieval leprosy victim found in one of Britain’s earliest known hospitals has shed light on the history of the disfiguring disease. The remains of a young man, between the age of 18 and 25, were found in the St Mary Magdalen leprosarium near Winchester, Hampshire. Researchers suggests the man was a…

Grail Quest Race 2017: sign up now for Somerset’s toughest, most medieval challenge

The Grail Quest Doomsday-ditch

As long time readers and listeners know I love Obstacle Course racing and even competed on American Ninja Warrior! If you live in or near Somerset you can compete in a Medieval Obstacle Race called The Grail Quest Race. The Grail Quest is a medieval themed, 10km obstacle course race based in Somerset. Sign up…

The discovery of medieval Trellech and the plucky amateurs of archaeology

Trellech

The tale of how an amateur archaeologist’s hunch led him to uncover a lost medieval town and spend £32,000 of his own money to buy the land, would stand to be the archaeological discovery of any year. On the border between England and Wales, the site of the medieval town of Trellech reveals much about…

Drone flyover of Haunted Nocton Hall

Nocton_Hall

Nocton Hall is a historic Grade II listed building in the village of Nocton, in Lincolnshire, England. In 2004 there was a major fire which left the building in a derelict state.

Arundel Castle Celebrates 950th Anniversary

Arundel Castle in West Sussex will celebrate the 950th anniversary of its initial construction this year. To celebrate, the Castle has arranged a bumper calendar of events including a week-long jousting and medieval tournament. Reopening to visitors on 1 April, the Castle’s calendar boasts two brand new events as well as the return of several…

Shadow of the Cross by Dmitry Yakhovsky Giveaway!

shadow-of-the-cross-cover

We are part of a book tour for Dmitry Yakhovsky’s new graphic novel Shadow of the Cross. Dmitry wrote a guest post for the site. Below the post you can view the cover artwork and an inside page. Enjoy! Shadow of the Cross Guest Post Thank you for having me on the Medieval Archives blog…