25 skeletons unearthed in medieval Cambridge friary
More than 25 skeletons have been unearthed by archaeologists investigating the site of a medieval friary in the centre of Cambridge.
|The team from the Cambridge Archaeological Unit have unearthed 25 skeletons so far [Credit: CAU]|
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.
'Potential for surprises'
It is currently home to the many of the university's science departments and examination halls as well as the David Attenborough building and the Museum of Zoology.
|Archaeologists estimate there could be as many as 40 skeletons on the site [Credit: CAU]|
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.
|Floor tiles unearthed at the burial site [Credit: CAU]|
The Augustinian friary was founded in 1290 but fell victim to the dissolution of the monasteries in 1538 under Henry VIII.
"They come in, they set up their friary and mark off an area as a cemetery and they start burying people in nice neat rows," Mr Cessford said.
|Many of the burials were accompanied by buckles, indicating the friars |
were buried with their black leather belts, a distinctive element
of Augustinian dress [Credit: CAU]
"It still has the potential for surprises."
The skeletons will now be processed, washed and studied by specialist osteo-archaeologists.
The CAU is working closely with the university's Department of Archaeology on a project called After the Plague, based around the discovery of around 400 skeletons in a burial site at Cambridge's Hospital of St John in 2010.
It's hoped the friary remains will become a "comparative collection", Mr Cessford added.
Source: BBC News Website [January 26, 2017]