• We have updated the guidelines regarding posting political content: please see the stickied thread on Website Issues.

Past / Historical Human Burials & Burial Practices (Miscellaneous)


Aug 19, 2003
Another Rare Burial

Archaeologists Discover Infants' Remains

Archaeologists have uncovered the remains of two newborns dating back 27,000 years while excavating a hillside in northern Austria, the scientist in charge of the project said Monday.

The find made last week near the Danube River city of Krems is important because the newborns were buried beneath mammoth bones and with a string of 31 beads — suggesting that the internment involved some sort of ritual, said Christine Neugebauer-Maresch, the project's leader at the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

"They could be twins," she said. "They have the same (length) limbs and were buried together."

The burial — one of the oldest in the region — is also significant in that the children were not simply disposed of after their deaths, Neugebauer-Maresch said. The burial suggests "they were members of society," she said.

Archaeologists are combing the area to see if the infants' mother is nearby, as giving birth to twins in that era would have been extremely difficult and potentially fatal.

Ancient Burial Ground Discovered in N.Y.
By FRANK ELTMAN, Associated Press Writer
Tue Nov 1,10:41 PM ET

James Richeson was checking out erosion damage on eastern Long Island after days of torrential rain last month when he made a fascinating discovery.

"I ... saw little bits of bone down the hillside and some of it had washed away in the surf already," said Richeson, the parks supervisor at Indian Island County Park — named in honor of the local Shinnecock and other tribes that have inhabited Long Island for as much as 12,000 years.

A closer inspection uncovered skull and bone fragments, as well as several artifacts, including a ceramic bowl and pipe covered with ornate geometric markings. The artifacts date at least 500 years — and possibly as far back as 700 B.C. — according to one expert who says such finds are becoming more common.

David Bernstein, director of the Long Island Institute of Archaeology at Stony Brook University, said such discoveries are a clear sign of the impact of global warming.

Park officials said there has been considerable erosion in the area in the past several decades. Concrete barriers that were once part of the parkland are now under water, two dozen or more yards from shore.

"It's no secret the level of the oceans is rising, something that's been accelerated by climatic warming," says Bernstein.

"So areas that were high and dry even a few centuries ago ... a lot of these settlements are now under 10 feet of water," added Bernstein, who said he receives a call about once a year from someone telling him they found an ancient artifact while walking along a beach.

The bones have since been collected by the Suffolk County medical examiner office for scientific study, and the artifacts are being held by the county parks department until it can be determined what to do with them, said Parks Commissioner Ronald Foley.

The area is now surrounded by snow fence and is patrolled regularly by parks police to prevent treasure hunters or curious onlookers from damaging what is considered hallowed ground.

Foley said county officials plan to meet with Shinnecock tribal leaders for advice on what to do with the items after they have been studied.

Elizabeth Thunderbird Haile, a Shinnecock leader, said she was pleased with the respectful manner of county officials.

"This discovery was made by nature, however unintentional," she said. "The fact they are being carefully tended to by the parks commissioner and his staff is very much appreciated."

A member of the graves protection committee of the Inter-tribal Historic Preservation Task Force, Haile said the discovery of the small clay pot — about the size of a soup bowl — and pipe near the bones indicates the items were probably buried with their owner, likely as part of a cremation, as was custom with her ancestors.

Cemeteries of the time "would be put in beautiful spaces like the islands at the head of an estuary, or just as possible on the highest hills nearby," she said.

Haile said that after a scientific review is complete, she would prefer that the items be reburied near where they were found.

She noted that for an ancient society, the issue of reburial is something that never had to be considered until modern times.

"The ancient people had many, many ceremonies, but they never had one on what do with a reburial; they had never unearthed each other," Haile said. "Now, we have to address that. We'll probably have to use the ancient burial ceremony and adapt it to a reburial."

Burial Ground
Archeologists Find Ancient Burial Mounds
Wed Nov 9, 9:15 PM ET

Archeologists said Wednesday they have unearthed burial mounds dating back to the third millennium B.C. which they believe contain remains and trinkets from ancient Aryan nomads.

Historian Hakob Simonian said Wednesday that the four mounds were among 30 discovered about 35 miles west of the Armenian capital Yerevan, containing beads made of agate, carnelian and as well as the remains of what appears to be a man, aged 50-55.

Also found were remains of domesticated horses and glazed pottery appearing to show chariots, Simonian said.

The Aryans, who later became known as Persians, were largely grassland nomads who settled in what is today Iran and eventually in parts of India.

Bronze Age man's burial site unearthed

Human remains dating back almost 4,000 years have been uncovered on Rathlin Island off the County Antrim coast. Senior archaeologists are investigating the remains of a man who could have been buried in the Bronze Age.

The skeleton was found in a crouched foetal-like position, which would indicate a cist burial in about 2000 BC.

The body was accompanied by a food vessel. The remains were uncovered on Monday on the north coast, close to Rathlin Island's only pub, during work.

Local people said they believe the bones are very old, and are similar to others which have been uncovered in the area over the years.

Declan Hurl, a senior archaeologist with the Department of Heritage and Environment and Dr Colin Breen from the Centre of Marine Archaeology at the University of Ulster, are investigating the find.

A spokesman for the Department of Environment stressed it was very early to give details but said this looked like a very significant discovery.

"What they (the archaeologists) are looking at is the possibility of an early Bronze Age site," he told the BBC News website.

"The find has just been identified in the past 24 hours. An initial report will determine whether the site can sustain excavation, given its precarious location," he said.

People have been sailing to Rathlin for thousands of years.

Other recent archaeological discoveries indicate the island may have been settled as early as 7000 BC, placing it among the oldest such sites in all of Ireland.

A Neolithic stone axe factory uncovered on the pistol-shaped island's western tip dates from at least 4000 BC.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/n ... 673622.stm

Published: 2006/02/02 13:03:03 GMT

Ancient ashes found buried in Rome

Archeologists have reportedly found the ashes of an ancient chief or priest who lived three centuries before the legendary founding of Rome.

The remains, dating to about 1,000 B.C., were discovered last month in a funerary urn at the bottom of a deep pit, along with several bowls and jars -- all encased in a hutlike box near the center of modern Rome, National Geographic News reported.

A team of archaeologists, led by Alessandro Delfino of Rome's Department of Cultural Heritage, discovered the prehistoric tomb while excavating the floor of Caesar's Forum, the remains of a square built by Julius Caesar around 46 B.C.

"We knew there should be very ancient tombs (at the site)," Delfino told NGN. "We had previously found two graves in the same site. They were small, less than a meter (about 40 inches) deep."

The newly found pit is six feet deep and four feet wide.

Officials said the prehistoric tribes probably placed the ashes of the low-ranking dead in surface buildings and buried only ashes of the notables.

Excavation unearths burial site

The burial site is believed to date back to the 6th Century
Archaeologists believe they may have discovered one of the oldest churches in Scotland during an excavation in Aberdeen.
They are awaiting test results which will confirm whether they have uncovered a religious burial site dating back to the 6th Century.

The find was made during Scotland's biggest archaeological dig in the east kirk of St Nicholas Church.

So far 300 skeletons have been unearthed, far more than expected.

The excavation is part of a £5m renovation of the site.

sorry i can't give you a link for this

ROME (AP) _ It could be humanity's oldest story of doomed love.

Archaeologists have unearthed two skeletons from the Neolithic period locked in a tender embrace and buried outside Mantua, just 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of Verona, the romantic city where Shakespeare set the star-crossed tale of Romeo and Juliet.

Buried between 5,000 to 6,000 years ago, the prehistoric lovers are believed to have been a man and a woman and are thought to have died young, as their teeth were found intact, said Elena Menotti, the archaeologist who led the dig.

«As far as we know, it's unique,» Menotti told The Associated Press by telephone from Milan. «Double burials from the Neolithic are unheard of, and these are even hugging.»

The burial site was located Monday during construction work for a factory building in the outskirts of Mantua.

Alongside the couple, archaeologists found flint tools, including arrowheads and a knife, Menotti said.

Experts will now study the artifacts and the skeletons to determine the burial sitès age and how old the two were when they died, she said.
Last edited by a moderator:
thanky you! I had been looking for a picture too but couldn't find any.
it may turn out to be something completely different, but it looks sweet, they look like a sleeping-n-smooching couple
It ain't easy being an archaeologist in Cambodia: "In 2010 one of our campsites was invaded by a wild elephant in the dead of night and it had to be driven off by our camp crew banging on cooking pots. It turns out we had pitched camp between two tempting stands of wild banana. We packed up and headed off soon after that."

New Light On Enigmatic Burial Rituals in Cambodian Mountains
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 092801.htm

Burial jars at Phnom Pel. (Credit: Image by Ouk Sokha)

ScienceDaily (May 9, 2012) — University of Otago researchers working in remote Cambodian mountains are shedding new light on the lost history of an unidentified people by studying their enigmatic burial rituals.

The Otago researchers have now provided the first radiocarbon dates for unusual jar and log coffin interments on exposed ledges high in southern Cambodia's rugged Cardamom Mountains. Since 2003, they have been working to geo-locate and survey 10 interment sites and to date these using samples of coffin wood, tooth enamel and bone.

With colleagues from Cambodia, Australia, USA and Scotland, Drs Nancy Beavan and Sian Halcrow of the Department of Anatomy have just published the dating of four sites in the journal Radiocarbon. These reveal that the mysterious funerary rituals, which are unlike any other recorded in Cambodia, were practiced from at least 1395AD to 1650AD.

Dr Beavan, who is currently in Cambodia, says that this period coincides with the decline and fall of the powerful Kingdom of Angkor, which was seated in the lowlands.

"Funeral practices in the Angkor Kingdom and its successors involved cremation rather than anything remotely like those found at sites we are studying. This stark difference suggests that, in cultural terms, these unidentified mountain dwellers were a 'world apart' from their lowland contemporaries."

To date, the bulk of research that makes up what is known about cultural history of the Khmer regions has focused on the lowlands, she says.

"Through our work we hope to broaden the understanding of this history beyond the legacies of the great Khmer Kingdom alone to those who lived within its margins," she says.

Dr Sian Halcrow says that archaeological findings from another of the 10 sites, which she and Dr Beavan are currently preparing for publication, will offer important new clues about who these mysterious people were, their culture, trade connections and biological adaptation to the environment.

Given the rugged and remote locations of the sites, the fieldwork has not been without its challenges, Dr Beavan says.

"In 2010 one of our campsites was invaded by a wild elephant in the dead of night and it had to be driven off by our camp crew banging on cooking pots. It turns out we had pitched camp between two tempting stands of wild banana. We packed up and headed off soon after that."

Story Source:

The above story is reprinted from materials provided by University of Otago.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.

Journal Reference:

Nancy Beavan, Sian Halcrow, Bruce McFadgen, Derek Hamilton, Brendan Buckley, Tep Sokha, Louise Shewan, Ouk Sokha, Stewart Fallon, John Miksic, Richard Armstrong, Dougald O'Reilly, Kate Domett, K.R. Chhem. Radiocarbon Dates from Jar and Coffin Burials of the Cardamom Mountains Reveal a Previously Unrecorded Mortuary Ritual in Cambodia’s Late- to Post-Angkor Period (15th–17th Centuries AD). Radiocarbon, May 2012 [link]
Early Human Burials Varied Widely but Most Were Simple
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 084747.htm

Feb. 21, 2013 — A new study from the University of Colorado Denver shows that the earliest human burial practices in Eurasia varied widely, with some graves lavish and ornate while the vast majority were fairly plain.

"We don't know why some of these burials were so ornate, but what's striking is that they postdate the arrival of modern humans in Eurasia by almost 10,000 years," said Julien Riel-Salvatore, Ph.D., assistant professor of anthropology at CU Denver and lead author of the study. "When they appear around 30,000 years ago some are lavish but many aren't and over time the most elaborate ones almost disappear. So, the behavior of humans does not always go from simple to complex; it often waxes and wanes in terms of its complexity depending on the conditions people live under."

The study, which examined 85 burials from the Upper Paleolithic period, found that men were buried more often than women. Infants were buried only sporadically, if at all in later periods, a difference that could be related to changes in subsistence, climate and the ability to keep babies alive, Riel-Salvatore said.

It also showed that a few ornate burials in Russia, Italy and the Czech Republic dating back nearly 30,000 years are anomalies, and not representative of most early Homo sapiens burial practices in Eurasia.

"The problem is that these burials are so rare -- there's just over three per thousand years for all of Eurasia -- that it's difficult to draw clear conclusions about what they meant to their societies," said Riel-Salvatore.

In fact, the majority of the burials were fairly plain and included mostly items of daily life as opposed to ornate burial goods. In that way, many were similar to Neanderthal graves. Both early humans and Neanderthals put bodies into pits sometimes with household items. During the Upper Paleolithic, this included ornaments worn by the deceased while they were alive. When present, ornaments of stone, teeth and shells are often found on the heads and torsos of the dead rather than the lower body, consistent with how they were likely worn in life.

"Some researchers have used burial practices to separate modern humans from Neanderthals," said Riel-Salvatore. "But we are challenging the orthodoxy that all modern human burials were necessarily more sophisticated than those of Neanderthals."

Many scientists believe that the capacity for symbolic behavior separates humans from Neanderthals, who disappeared about 35,000 years ago.

"It's thought to be an expression of abstract thinking" Riel-Salvatore said. "But as research progresses we are finding evidence that Neanderthals engaged in practices generally considered characteristic of modern humans."

Riel-Salvatore is an expert on early modern humans and Neanderthals. His last study proposed that, contrary to popular belief, early humans didn't wipe out Neanderthals but interbred with them, swamping them genetically. Another of his studies demonstrated that Neanderthals in southern Italy adapted, innovated and created technology before contact with modern humans, something previously considered unlikely.

This latest study, "Upper Paleolithic mortuary practices in Eurasia: A critical look at the burial record" co-authored with Claudine Gravel-Miguel (Arizona State University), will be published in The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Death and Burial in April.

It reveals intriguing variation in early human burial customs between 10,000 and 35,000 years ago. And this study raises the question of why there was so much variability in early human burial practices.

"There seems to be little rhyme or reason to it," Riel-Salvatore said. "The main point here is that we need to be careful of using exceptional examples of ornate burials to characterize Upper Paleolithic burial practices as a whole."

Story Source:

The above story is reprinted from materials provided by University of Colorado Denver, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Note: Materials may be edited for content and length. For further information, please contact the source cited above.
Saying it With Flowers—14,000 Years Ago
http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2 ... tml?ref=hp
by Michael Balter on 1 July 2013, 5:56 PM | 0 Comments

Flowery repose. The prehistoric graves of a man and boy found in an Israeli cave (left) were apparently lined with plants and flowers (artist's reconstruction, right.)
Credit: D. Nadel et al., PNAS Early Edition (2013)

About 14,000 years ago, a band of hunter-gatherers began hanging out in prime real estate in a cave on the slopes of Mount Carmel, in what today is Israel. The five-chambered grotto, now called Raqefet Cave, overlooks the Mediterranean Sea. The hunter-gatherers who lived here were probably the ancestors of the world's first farmers, but now they have been given another important distinction: The first humans to bury their dead with flowers.

Scientists have debated for years just when early humans began saying it with flowers. In the 1970s, researchers excavating the 50,000-year-old grave of a Neandertal buried at Shanidar Cave in northern Iraq, found evidence that it had been festooned with flowers. The claim, which led some archaeological pundits to suggest that Neandertals were the original flower children, was based on pollen of various flower species in the grave; but more recently other archaeologists have argued that burrowing animals probably brought the pollen into the burial site. Today, few archaeologists accept Shanidar as an example of flower burial (and some even question whether Neandertals deliberately buried their dead.)

Since 2005, a research team led by Dani Nadel, an archaeologist at the University of Haifa in Israel, has been excavating at Raqefet Cave, one of a number of sites frequented by prehistoric humans on the slopes of Mount. Carmel. Beginning about 13,700 years ago, Raqefet was occupied by the Natufians, who were widespread in the Mediterranean areas of the Near East and may have been the ancestors of the first farmers. The Natufians were the earliest known prehistoric peoples to systematically bury their dead together in cemeteries near the huts they apparently lived in, rather than in isolated and sporadic burial pits; their burials often featured grave goods such as beads, deposits of red ochre, and stone tools.

Now it looks like the Natufians honored their dead with flowers, too, as Nadel reports online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Of the 29 skeletons excavated so far at Raqefet, four individuals, radiocarbon dated between 13,700 and 11,700 years ago, show what the team says are clear signs of having been buried on a literal bed of flowers. To be sure about this, the team brought in a number of experts to help it study the graves. The researchers found that the graves, which include an unusual double burial of an adult male and adolescent boy, had been cut into the limestone bedrock that makes up the floor of the cave, and then lined with a thin layer of mud. Pressed into the mud lining were the impressions of the stems of a number of plant species, some of which the team was able to identify. The plants included Judean sage and members of the mint and figwort family, aromatic plants that blossom into colorful flowers in the spring, and some of which are still found today on the slopes of Mount Carmel.

The evidence from the mud impressions was bolstered by the finding of thousands of microscopic plant fossils, called phytoliths, in the four burials as well as in several others. The phytoliths, which can sometimes be identified down to the species level, came from various grasses, shrubs, reeds, and sedges. The team concludes from this evidence, that the graves were lined not only with flowers but other plants that provided lush bedding for the dead.

But did flowers have the same symbolic meanings for the Natufians as they do for us? Nadel and his colleagues believe so, citing psychological studies concluding that flowers trigger positive emotional reactions on an unconscious, physiological level that transcends cultural invention. The team also cites evidence from other archaeological sites that some flowering plants were domesticated as early as 5,000 years ago, ostensibly as decoration. The researchers argue that the use of flowers at funerals may have served "as a means of enhancing group identity and solidarity," similar to the use of other grave goods such as beads to send the dead on their way. Such group solidarity, the team notes, would have been especially important at a time when hunter-gatherers in the Near East were beginning to congregate together in ever more sedentary and cohesive communities as a prelude to their eventual invention of agriculture.

The team's work provides "multidimensional evidence" for the use of aromatic plants and flowers to line graves, and is "the first time such evidence has been presented," says Leore Grosman, an archaeologist at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem who has excavated at a nearby Natufian site also known for its burials. The findings, she adds, provide "important clues to the views about death and dying in the Natufian culture," including the possibility that the lush flower burials were designed to make the dead "comfortable" and a sign of "concern about their well-being in the after-life."
Mass graves, bodysnatchers and crematoriums: Ireland's history with death
The authors of Grave Matters talk about death through the ages.

IN IRELAND, WE think we do death well. We honour our dead and know how to hold a good funeral.

But we are more removed from the process of death and burial today then we have ever been in the past. People die in hospitals away from their homes, wakes are less common, and our period of mourning is substantially shorter.

Our attitudes and rituals around death have changed dramatically since the medieval period. A delve into how these practices can tell us a lot about how Irish society has changed.

No proper burial

In the Middle Ages, only the exceptionally wealthy had marked graves. The elite were interred in churches while the poor were buried outside, often in mass graves like St Audeon’s cemetery (now disused).

The Reformation had an enormous impact on how people were buried. The Anglican Church of Ireland administered Dublin’s parish burial grounds and all burials, of whatever denomination, paid a fee to the local minister.

All non-Anglican congregations were obliged to bury their dead in parish graveyards belonging to the established church; there were no Catholic graveyards. With goodwill and discretion, Catholic interments could be conducted – the priest wearing ordinary clothes and the vicar turning a blind eye. ...

Mass burials reveal tales of tragedy.

Archaeologists excavated part of the old city center of Yaroslavl, Russia, between 2005 and 2010 as part of an effort to restore its cathedral. During the digs, they discovered nine medieval mass graves holding the remains of at least 300 people, dating from the sack of the city by Mongols. It took another several years for their bones, the ancient DNA preserved within them, and some centuries-old blowfly larvae to reveal a family tragedy set against the wider backdrop of Mongol expansion.

The circa 300-year-old cave burial of a young girl in Poland is unusual and unique - not least because she was buried with the head(s) of at least one finch in her mouth.
Girl buried with finch in her mouth puzzles archaeologists

Archaeologists are trying to solve the mystery of a girl who was buried with the head of at least one finch in her mouth hundreds of years ago.

Although the skeleton was discovered by archaeologist Waldemar Chmielewski in southern Poland in Tunel Wielki Cave during excavations in 1967 and 1968, the burial had not been analyzed in detail until now. New radiocarbon dating indicates that the girl died around 300 years ago.

People in Europe stopped burying their dead in caves during the Middle Ages, making the burial of this girl highly unusual. ...

The fact that she has at least one bird head stuffed in her mouth is also unusual, and no other examples are known from this time in Europe ...

After analyzing the skeleton, the researchers, from the University of Warsaw and other institutions in Poland, found the girl had died between 10 and 12 years of age. Her bones also showed signs of arrested growth in later years, possibly the result of a metabolic disease. They didn't find any evidence of trauma, nor any clues about how the girl died. No grave goods, aside from the bird head placed in her mouth, were found. ...

DNA tests indicated that the girl was likely from an area north of Poland, possibly around modern-day Finland or Karelia. ...

Historical records show that from 1655 to 1657, the area was occupied by an army led by King Charles X Gustav of Sweden. His army included many soldiers from Finland and Karelia ... , and those soldiers often traveled with their families. ...

Records from the 19th century also show that people in Karelia, a region that stretches over modern-day Russia and Finland, believed that someone who died in a forest had to be buried in a forest rather than in a cemetery. ...

These finds led the researchers to suggest that this girl may have come to the area during the 1655-1657 war and that she may have died in the forest where the cave is located. ...

Why she was buried with at least one finch head in her mouth remains unknown.

"Among many cultures, the souls of children have also been conceived in the form of small birds," the researchers wrote. "Nevertheless, in the period in question, birds were never deposited into graves, let alone being placed in the mouth of the deceased. The riddle of the unique child burial from Tunel Wielki Cave cannot be fully explained."
FULL STORY: https://www.livescience.com/girl-burial-finch-in-mouth-poland.html
Last edited:
Thanks ... I've fixed the link.
Last edited:
The circa 300-year-old cave burial of a young girl in Poland is unusual and unique - not least because she was buried with the head(s) of at least one finch in her mouth.

FULL STORY: https://www.livescience.com/girl-burial-finch-in-mouth-poland.html
Isit possible the finch was placed on her chest, and through the process of decomposition the finch skull slipped into a position that made it appear to be in her mouth? the mandible has a big opening beneath it when skeletonized.
Isit possible the finch was placed on her chest, and through the process of decomposition the finch skull slipped into a position that made it appear to be in her mouth? the mandible has a big opening beneath it when skeletonized.
I doubt the finch skull entered the mouth cavity by migrating from the external chest area. Here's a photo of the burial as it was excavated back in the 1960s.

Tunel Wielki.jpg

The skull appears to be at the same level or even elevated above the sternum. There's no indication of a coffin having been used, so the corpse would have been fully enclosed in soil. As a result, there's no reason to believe the mouth / throat area afforded space for the bird skull's movement prior to excavation.

This 2018 Polish science news item about the burial:


... mentions one adult finch skull was found in the mouth and a second one was found next to the cheek.
Ancient trading post bodies unsanded.

Archaeologists have preserved about 200 bodies from the site of a medieval trading post with Ireland.

The remains from Whitesands Beach, Pembrokeshire, will be stored at the National Museum of Wales. The bodies, from an early Christian community, are well preserved because they have been buried in sand.

Dyfed Archaeological Trust is hoping to excavate as much of the chapel cemetery as possible due to fears coastal erosion could wash it away.
It is thought the remains could provide a unique snapshot from that period. The six-week excavation at the St Patrick's Chapel site follows earlier digs in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Last edited:

Mystery sarcophagus found in Notre-Dame to be opened

A mysterious leaden sarcophagus discovered in the bowels of Paris’ Notre-Dame cathedral after it was devastated by a fire will soon be opened and its secrets revealed, French archaeologists said Thursday.


During preparatory work to rebuild the church’s ancient spire last month, workers found the well-preserved sarcophagus buried 20 metres (65 feet) underground, lying among the brick pipes of a 19th century heating system.

But it is believed to be much older — possibly from the 14th century.

Scientists have already peeked into the sarcophagus using an endoscopic camera, revealing the upper part of a skeleton, a pillow of leaves, fabric and as-yet unidentified objects.

Noting that it was found under a mound of earth that had furniture from the 14th century, lead archaeologist Christophe Besnier said “if it turns out that it is in fact a sarcophagus from the Middle Ages, we are dealing with an extremely rare burial practice”.


maximus otter
Haverfordwest: Seventeen skeletons found at shopping centre dig.

The remains of 17 bodies have been found by archaeologists excavating a site in the heart of a shopping centre.
The Dyfed Archaeological team believe they were burials linked with the medieval Friary of St Saviours.
The exploration in Haverfordwest followed plans to redevelop the site.
This led to archaeologists digging exploratory trenches and finding walls, drains and items like high quality wall and floor tiles, believed to be from France.

Measuring about 40m long and 12m wide, it is thought the Friary, in Pembrokeshire, occupied a riverside site about 200m long.

The Friary was established on an earlier site but moved to this site in 1258.
It was home to eight Blackfriars - Dominican monks - and with gifts from landowners, lords and even royalty, became extremely wealthy which might have been a major factor in Henry VIII's decision to dissolve it in the 1530s.
The Friars saw their mission as preaching and helping the poor and sick.
"The site is like a layer cake," explained site supervisor Andrew Shobbrook.
"There were remains of the former shop, evidence of an iron foundry and below that the remains of the Friary."
(C) BBC. '22

'Many more' skeletons expected to be unearthed in Haverfordwest after 17 remains found.

They were discovered at the site of a former department store.

The remains of 17 bodies have been found by archaeologists during an excavation in Haverfordwest with “many more” believed to be waiting to be unearthed. Dyfed Archaeological Trust uncovered the skeletons while exploring a medieval friary on the former site of Ocky White department store in the town’s centre. And site manager, Andrew Shobbrook, believes more burials will be discovered in the coming weeks.

He said: “The burials were uncovered in a 10 metre by 10 metre area, so as we expand our search to a significantly larger area it is more than likely we are going to find many more. It is hard to anticipate how many we will find, but with so little excavation done previously, there are a lot of possibilities – it is very exciting.”

Members of the trust suspect that the site is linked with the second location of the medieval friary of St Saviours which up to this point had not been discovered by archaeologists. St Saviours friary was home to eight extremely wealthy blackfriars, who generated their wealth through gifts from landowners, lords and royalty.
(C) WoL. '22.
3rd-century-B.C. woman was buried facedown with a nail hole in her skull.

The strange facedown burial of a young woman, who likely had a nail driven into her skull around the time she died in Sardinia more than 2,000 years ago, could be the result of ancient beliefs about epilepsy, according to new research.


The facedown burial may indicate that the individual suffered from a disease, while an unusual nail-shaped hole in the woman's skull may be the result of a remedy that sought to prevent epilepsy from spreading to others — a medical belief at the time.

The unusual burial was found in a tomb in the Necropolis of Monte Luna, a hill located about 20 miles (30 kilometers) north of Cagliari in the southern part of Sardinia. The burial ground was first used by Punic people after the sixth century B.C. and continued in use until the second century B.C.

Pottery in the tomb suggests she was buried in the last decade of the third century B.C. or the first decades of the second century B.C.

And a new analysis of the young woman's skeleton — based on her pelvis, teeth and other bones — confirmed an earlier estimate that she was between 18 and 22 years old when she died.

It also showed she had suffered trauma to her skull shortly before or around the time she died. The archaeologists found evidence of two types of trauma: blunt-force trauma, which could have occurred during an accidental fall — possibly during an epileptic seizure — and a sharp-force injury in the form of a square hole in her skull consistent with an impact by an ancient Roman nail.


maximus otter
The missing corpses.

A mysterious ancient graveyard that has flummoxed Finnish archaeologists for decades could be one of the largest Stone Age cemeteries in northern Europe, a new study suggests.

Located on the edge of the Arctic Circle in Tainiaro, a place of long and bitter winters, the site was first unearthed in 1959 and studied again in the late 1980s, but the findings of those excavations never saw the light of day. Thousands of artifacts were described, and archeologists later discovered the sandy soils were tinged with ash and streaked red with ochre. But no human remains have ever been found in the dozens of shallow pits at Tainiaro, leaving researchers to wonder what brought people to congregate on the forested shores of an almost-Arctic estuary.

Now, a new analysis of the site, led by archaeologist Aki Hakonen of the University of Oulu in Finland, strengthens the idea that the site was used as a graveyard, with up to 200 possible burial pits dug some 6,500 years ago by Stone Age communities otherwise known for their nomadic forager lifestyle.

"Even though no skeletal material has survived at Tainiaro," Hakonen and colleagues write in their paper, "Tainiaro should, in our opinion, be considered to be a cemetery site."

To reach that conclusion, the team pored over the old records of the site to relocate the previously excavated trenches, then excavated a few more, and compared the shape, size, and contents of the pits to other Stone Age burial sites located elsewhere in Finland.

Bones buried in the region's acidic soils can decay in several thousand years, yet thousands of stone artifacts, scraps of pottery, and a few burnt animal bones were preserved and found scattered throughout the site.