Archaeologists found the graves of fifty people – adults and children – at the medieval pilgrimage site of St. Chad who was a popular saint in 7th century England.
The Archaeology Warwickshire, an English excavation and archaeology firm, stated that the recently exhumed skeletal remain may give archaeologist some new clues about the lives of people in medieval times.
Each skeleton shall be analysed by the archaeologists at the Archaeology Warwickshire, to determine its approximate age, its sex, and possibly the cause of death by looking at evidence of disease or injury in the bones.
The fifty graves were discovered in August when the Archaeology Warwickshire investigated the land around an almshouse, which was situated just outside the gates of Lichfield (a medieval city) in West Midlands.
During medieval times, Pilgrims used to go to the 12th century cathedral where St. Chad was buried. After 9 p.m. when the city of Lichfield closed its gates, the pilgrims who arrived later used to stay at the almshouse, known as the Hospital of St. John Baptist without the Barrs.
Archaeologists at the Archaeology Warwickshire are not certain whether the fifty pilgrims that were recently found at the medieval pilgrimage site, ever made it into Lichfield. Often times they would die on the road because of exhaustion, lack of water or food, or perhaps because they suffered from a severe illness.
“People came from miles to see them. [The relics had] some curative quality to them — maybe you’ll get to see some good in heaven or on the way to heaven,” Palmer stated.
The graves that were found near Lichfield are quite shallow. Some of them are only 1.6 feet (0.5 metres) deep. The pilgrims were arranged in rows, laying on their back, and covered with soil. Many of the skeletons are in bad shape because the soil in those regions is acidic, the archaeologists said.
Researchers will take DNA samples from the bones that are still in good condition. By analysing the isotopes and DNA, they will be able to tell where the pilgrims originally came from. According to Palmer, the teeth may also provide some information regarding the diets that these people had.
Image Source: livescience