Alfred the Great Bone Found ... in a Box?

Bone that could be his or his son's found in 1999 dig
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 17, 2014 10:10 AM CST
Alfred the Great Bone Found ... in a Box?
Alfred the Great.   (Wikipedia Commons)

Archaeologists may have uncovered a bone fragment belonging to Alfred the Great—in 1999. The English king, who ruled from 871 until his death in 899, made news last year when experts thought they had found his unmarked grave. Except the remains they found there turned out to be from the 1300s, so they turned to decade-old dig records from Hyde Abbey, where Albert's bones were said to have been moved, the BBC reports. Gathering dust in a storage box at Winchester's City Museum sat a fragment of pelvic bone that had never been examined, because funding on that dig ran out and because a bone found next to it was dated to the 17th or 18th century.

Now, carbon dating places the fragment in the right time period: 895 to 1017, the Daily Mail notes. It was also determined to come from a man who died between the ages of 26 and roughly 45. "These are the bones that were found closest to the site of the high altar," an archaeologist says. "As far as we know, from the chronicles and the records, the only individuals close to the site of the high altar who are the right age when they died and the right date when they died would either be Alfred or (his son) Edward." Researchers now plan to break ground again near the spot the bone was found in the hope that more will turn up. (Click for news on another Great—this one felled by a bad batch of wine.)

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