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Tag Archives: medieval

Medieval sin-washing well is uncovered

(Historic England)

(Historic England)

In medieval times, pilgrims flocked to England in quest of St. Anne’s Well, which was said to cure ailments and wash away sins. Archaeologists now say they’ve rediscovered that large sandstone well on a private farm near Liverpool using only a 1983 photo and a description, reports the Liverpool Echo.

When archaeologists arrived at the site, there was little evidence of the well at all as “it had become completely filled with earth,” says a rep for Historic England.

Once excavated, however, it was “found to be in reasonable condition,” per an archaeologist. Legend has it that the supposed mother of the Virgin Mary herself descended the medieval well’s three steps and bathed in its 4-foot-deep pool, located near a priory of monks, reportedly giving the water the ability to cure eye and skin diseases, per Seeker and ScienceAlert.

 

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But the well—believed to have healing properties into the 19th century—also features in a more ominous legend suggesting it’s cursed. During a dispute over the well in the 16th century, the prior reportedly cursed the estate manager of a neighboring landowner, whom he believed had a hand in the monastery being seized by the king.

The prior said a “year and a day shall not pass ere St. Anne thy head shall bruise”—then the prior himself collapsed and died, according to an 1877 newspaper recounting of the legend.

The estate manager is said to have disappeared after a night of drinking, only to be found dead in the well with “his head crushed in.” ScienceAlert points out the discovery has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

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Bronze sword, gold-decorated spearhead unearthed at Scottish construction site

Lifting the Bronze Age sword (© GUARD Archaeology Ltd).

Lifting the Bronze Age sword (© GUARD Archaeology Ltd).

Archaeologists in Scotland have unearthed a hoard of stunning prehistoric artifacts, including a bronze sword and rare gold-decorated spearhead.

The trove was found prior to the construction of two soccer fields in Carnoustie by experts from GUARD Archaeology, working on behalf of the local government. A spokesman for  GUARD Archaeology told Fox News that excavations at the site have just finished.

The artifacts, which date to around 1,000 B.C. to 800 BC, have delighted archaeologists. “It is very unusual to recover such artefacts in a modern archaeological excavation, which can reveal so much about the context of its burial,”said GUARD Archaeology Project Officer Alan Hunter, who directed the excavation, in a statement.

 

The excavation site contains a host of archaeological features, including 12 circular houses that probably date the Bronze Age, as well as two halls likely dating to the Neolithic period, one of which is the largest of its type ever found in Scotland, estimated to be 6,000 years old. Clusters of large pits were also discovered, one of which contained the haul of metalwork.

In addition to the bronze spearhead and sword, archaeologists also found a lead and tin pommel from the end of a sword’s hilt, a bronze scabbard mount and chape (the metal point of a scabbard), and a bronze pin.

Archaeologists say that the spearhead’s gold ornament is particularly noteworthy, with the precious metal likely used to enhance the weapon’s visual impact.

The Carnoustie excavation also unearthed rare organic remains, such as a wooden scabbard that encased the sword blade, fur skin around the spearhead and textile around the pin and scabbard.

‘Organic evidence like Bronze Age wooden scabbards rarely survive on dryland sites so this just underlines how extraordinary these finds are,’ said GUARD Project Officer, Beth Spence, in the statement.

Because the remains discovered at Carnoustie are so fragile, archaeologists removed the entire pit and its surrounding subsoil and transported it to GUARD Archaeology’s lab, where it was CT scanned and X-rayed by the School of Veterinary Medicine at Glasgow University. Scan and X-ray data helped experts remove the artifacts from the block of soil. The bronze sword, pin, and scabbard fittings were unearthed near the spearhead.

This is just the latest fascinating archaeological discovery in Scotland. Experts, for example, have spent the last few years piecing together the history of a long-lost early medieval kingdom in southern Scotland.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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Medieval Knight Found in Parking Lot

 

Medieval Knight Found Under Parking Lot In Scotland; Mysterious Remains Thrill Archeologists

The Huffington Post  |  By Posted: 03/14/2013 9:57 am EDT  |  Updated: 03/14/2013 9:57 am EDT

Medieval Knight Found Parking Lot

Archaeologists this week announced the discovery of an unidentified medieval knight’s skeleton buried along with several other bodies under a Scottish parking lot.

The knight — or possibly nobleman — was uncovered during construction work, according to The Scotsman. Also found was an intricately carved sandstone slab, several other human burial plots and a variety of artifacts researchers believe are from the 13th-century Blackfriars Monastery.

(Story continues below.)

medieval knight found parking lot

Councillor Richard Lewis, a member of the City of Edinburgh Council, said the archeological treasure trove has “the potential to be one of the most significant and exciting archaeological discoveries in the city for many years, providing us with yet more clues as to what life was like in Medieval Edinburgh,” according to a statementreleased by the Edinburgh Center for Carbon Innovation (ECCI).

“We hope to find out more about the person buried in the tomb once we remove the headstone and get to the remains underneath but our archaeologists have already dated the gravestone to the thirteenth century,” Lewis added.

The team leading the excavation is part of Headland Archeology, which noted with glee that many of its researchers may have once walked over the bones while studying nearby at the former University of Edinburgh’s archaeology department. A statement released by the group says members are “looking forward to post excavation analyses that will tell us more about the individual buried there.”

Ross Murray, a project officer for Headland, told The Huffington Post in an email that the team has already divined some clues about the knight’s background.

“The knight would have been buried in the graveyard associated with the monastery meaning he had money or was important in the society of time,” Murray told HuffPost. “The more important you were the closer you got placed to the church. He was also pretty tall for the time being around 6ft or so.”

Echoing Councillor Lewis, Murray went on to say that the contents of the grave site and monastery will be “fantastic” additions to Scottish art history.

“We have now taken the body back to our labs and will have an osteo-archaeologist examine the body to try and establish their sex, age, if they had any diseases or even how they died,” Murray said. “The medieval was a pretty brutal time so a violent death wouldn’t be uncommon. We would also get radiocarbon dates from the bones to get a more accurate date for the burial and have an expert in medieval sculpture looks at the carved grave slab.”

After the excavation is complete, the former parking lot will house the rainwater-harvesting tank of the University of Edinburgh’s new ECCI building.

This impressive Edinburgh find comes on the heels of scientists’ confirmation this February that bones found under an English city council parking lot do indeed belong to King Richard III. Researchers from the University of Leicester used DNA analysis to identify the 15th-century monarch, who died in battle during the War of the Roses.

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