Human bones found in Tower of London

Posted by Imogen Searra on 23 October 2019

The Tower of London is infamous for being the burial ground of many of the victims of King Henry VIII. Not all doom and gloom, the Tower was once a hub of liveliness, serving as a palace and local community centre.

Within its walls, the 950-year-old Tower once housed many pubs, chapels, offices and residences for those who kept the medieval structure going.

More than 50 years since the last skeletal discovery, more bones have been found within the Tower. The two fully intact skeletons belonged to a 40-year-old woman and a 7-year-old girl, according to Live Science.

According to the Telegraph, the ‘skeletons bear no axe and sword marks of executions or any signs of violent death. They appear to have been ordinary people who had lived at the Tower during the late medieval and early Tudor era.’

The skeletons were exhumed from the adjoining burial plot below the Tower’s Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula. The last discovery of human remains happened in the 1970s. This discovery, however, is the first where fully intact skeletons were found.

In a statement, Historic Royal Palaces curator Alfred Hawkins said: ‘As the first complete remains to be examined from within this royal fortress, they have offered us a chance to glimpse that human element of the tower, which is so easy to miss. This fortress has been occupied for almost 1,000 years, but we must remember it was not only a palace, fortress and prison but that it has also been a home to those who worked within its walls.’

The bones were discovered while Hawkins and his colleagues were conducting an archaeological survey to make the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula more wheelchair-friendly. The researchers discovered the remains of an older chapel with medieval flooring. Underneath this were the two burials, side-by-side.

The woman’s remains were in a coffin, as nails were found nearby. The child’s remains were found in a ‘burial shroud’ which, according to Live Science, was common for the early Tudors period/ late medieval period. The bodies are believed to have been buried between 1450 and 1550.

Image: Unsplash




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