November 18, 2010
Bones held in mortuary chests in Winchester Cathedral could include those of an early English Queen, researchers have found.
The contents of six chests have been analysed and radiocarbon-dated.
University of Bristol biological anthropologists found they contained the remains of at least 23 individuals – several more than originally thought.
One is believed to be that of Queen Emma who was married to kings of England, Ethelred and Cnut.
Although the chests, originally placed near the high altar, had inscriptions stating who was supposed to be within them, it was known the names bore no relation to the actual contents.
The contents had become mixed when the cathedral was ransacked and the bones were scattered by Roundhead soldiers during the English Civil War in 1642.
They were repacked by locals so it was not known whose remains were replaced, or if they were the same bones.
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