Sunday, September 6, 2009

Mystery of The Couple Buried Arm in Arm 1,000 Years Ago

For a thousand years they have lain side by side in a rough earth grave, one throwing a skeletal arm across the other. Believed to be Saxon warriors, they are thought to have died together and been buried together as brothers in arms. Their return to the limelight after so many centuries comes as archaeologists work on a 90-acre site near Ramsgate in Kent before it is developed into a salad-growing complex.

At first they were taken to be a man and wife, buried some time during the Saxon period between 410 and 1066, but now that opinion has changed. Adrian Gollop, project officer at the Canterbury Archaeological Trust, said: 'It is quite a rare discovery.

The body on the right is definitely male. They are exceptionally tall, both over six feet. The one on the left has got some female traits to it but it does seem to be male. Until we get the bones examined, we cannot be 100 per cent certain. We think they could have been buried as brothers in arms.

There were no artefacts buried with them to give us any clues. It is a bit of a mystery. The trust hopes that forensic tests on the bones will help solve the puzzle. Other graves and artefacts ranging from the early bronze age between 2700BC and 1500BC to medieval times have been found on the site.

Another poignant grave is from the Roman era and is that of a young girl - thought to be in her early teens - who died in childbirth. The mother and baby seem to have been buried soon after death with the young girl still holding a smoothed pebble she was probably holding as a comforter during labour.

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