Archeologists find 14 more bodies in Durham

excavation on a human burial site near Durham University's Palace Green library.

excavation on a human burial site near Durham University's Palace Green library.

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ARCHAEOLOGISTS have uncovered more than a dozen more bodies in a mass old grave at Durham Cathedral.

Experts initially uncovered four skeletons when they found a medieval cemetery.

Now, a further 14 have now been discovered.

Durham University archaeologists think the remains, which were discovered earlier this month during building work to the University’s Palace Green Library, reveal clear evidence of a mass grave on the city’s World Heritage Site.

Senior archaeologist Richard Annis said the unorthodox and intriguing layout to the bodies is proof that it is “not a normal grave”.

“One of the densest areas of the excavation was further north, which is further away from the edge of the presumed graveyard,” he said.

“The bodies have been tipped into the earth without elaborate ceremony, and they are tightly packed together and jumbled.

“Some are buried in a north-to-south alignment, rather than the traditional east-to-west alignment that we would expect from a conventional medieval burial site.”

The team will carry out further research into the remains, which include dating bones and looking for clues as to their origin. Work is expected to begin next year.

Archaeologists are carrying out excavation in the area before taking the bones away for further examination.

By law, the bones must eventually be reinterred at an approved burial ground.

Richard, added: “The process of post-excavation processing, examination and analysis is essential to allow us to draw proper conclusions about this group of human remains. It is too early to say what they may be.”

More archaeological work will be carried out when work commences to build new exhibition spaces at the site in February, as part of work to the Cathedral’s Open Treasure project.

Official building work, which will officially get under way in the summer, is being funded by a £3.6million donation to Durham Cathedral from the Heritage Lottery Fund.