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They Dug Up Tower of London Floor and Found Skeletons

They're the first bones from the Tower to have been analyzed
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 23, 2019 8:34 AM CDT
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The Tower of London.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – It's been almost 50 years since human remains were unearthed in the Tower of London, reports Live Science, which makes the recent discovery of two skeletons a noteworthy one—for more reasons than one. The Telegraph reports on the find: of a woman who died between the ages of 35 and 45 and a child estimated to have been seven. They died separately, sometime between 1450 and 1550. Their end apparently wasn't a gruesome one, as evidenced by the lack of signs of violence or execution marks on the bones. Alfred Hawkins, a curator for the Tower guardian Historic Royal Palaces, says they were likely normal people who lived in the Tower and helped it function. What's remarkable is that "we've never had the opportunity to assess skeletons that have come from the Tower."

In a blog post, Hawkins explains the find has its roots in 2018, when it was decided that better access was needed to the Chapel of Saint Peter ad Vincula. Before beginning the design phase, an excavation had to be undertaken "in order to create a picture of what is beneath the ground," and the bodies were found during that process. They were far from the first to come from beneath the medieval floor outside the chapel. Both Tower prisoners and residents were buried there, and roughly 1,700 skeletons were exhumed in 1876 during an effort to stabilize the floor. They were reburied in a crypt immediately. These bones, however, were analyzed by an osteoarchaeologist, who found indications of illness among both and chronic back pain for the adult woman. (Read about another Tower of London find.)

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