Hundreds of skeletons found under Wales department store, half of which are children

(ORDO NEWS) — Archaeologists have found hundreds of skeletons at what was once a medieval cemetery in Wales. Among the 240 graves, about half belong to children.

The Monastery of the Holy Savior was founded in 1256 by a Dominican monk. The cemetery is believed to have been connected to the monastery, but it was not uncommon for members of the neighboring community to be buried there for a small fee.

Until recently, this place was the local department store Okki White, which closed in 2013 after more than a century of existence. The excavations are part of an ongoing construction project that includes a future grocery store.

More about the find

It was considered the city cemetery. It was actively used for many years from the 12th to the 16th century – everyone was buried there, not just monks and priests.

It gives a glimpse into the life of the community, ” says Fran Murphy, excavation director for the Dyfed Archaeological Trust.

The monks who lived in the Cathedral of the Holy Savior were known as “black monks” because of the color of their clothes, and often preached Catholic teachings in the streets, becoming a prominent part of the surrounding community.

Among the skeletons found, several “showed signs of trauma, including stab wounds to the skulls,” Murphy said. There can be a lot of reasons for this, so it will be possible to say more precisely only after further research.

Researchers do not rule out that these people could be victims of the conflict of 1405, when the Welsh commander Owain Glyndor took this territory under siege.

Hundreds of skeletons found under Wales department store half of which are children
Excavations of a medieval cemetery in Wales

Several crypts were also found in the cemetery, one of which contains a skeleton. Archaeologists suggest that it could be a priest.

In his hands he held a pewter bowl on a patterned plate, similar to the one used during communion, to hold the wafer.

This burial in particular indicates the vocation of this man, – comments Fran Murphy.

During the excavations, several ornamented floor tiles were discovered, which may be the remains of a former church that stands on this site.

The Church of the Holy Savior remained active until the 16th century, when the crown sold the property after a split between Henry VIII, King of England and Wales, and the Catholic Church.

We believe that when the monastery was dissolved [in the 1500s], the church next to it was demolished, but we are not sure when exactly this happened, ” the researcher adds.

In addition to the cemetery, the site of the former monastery also contained a number of buildings, including dormitories, scriptoria (rooms devoted to writing and manuscripts), stables, and a hospital.


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