Sunday, December 11, 2011

17th C. Remains Of Three Bodies Found In Rosslyn Chapel

Three skeletons from the 1600s have been discovered beneath the center aisle of Scotland's Rosslyn Chapel, according to an article on the website.

From Rosslyn bones ‘from up to three bodies’

Archaeologists now believe the skeletons were placed there when the chapel was abandoned during the Reformation, in the 17th century, by local people who wanted to bury their relatives on consecrated ground. They lay under the stone for more than three centuries until the slabs were lifted two years ago.

The archaeological team has now released the first pictures of the skeletons in their resting place. Tests are still under way to accurately date the findings.

Colin Glynne-Percy, director of the Rosslyn Chapel Trust, said: “During excavation works to install a new heating system in the chapel, archaeologists found a number of bones just beneath the slabs. Below that, they came across a second skeleton that was fully intact.”

Lindsay Dunbar, from Loanhead-based AOC Archaeology Group, employed to monitor the present conservation project at Rosslyn, was one of those who discovered the bones while extending an old heating duct. “We believe that the first set of bones had been disturbed by workers putting in the original duct, some time around the beginning of the 20th century,” she said.

“The bones at the higher level have been removed and are being examined before being re-interred. A small sample has been taken from the second skeleton, which was recorded and left in situ.”

It is believed there were three burials, although experts can’t be sure because the bones have been scattered over a large area.

“Once we get a full human bone report then hopefully the specialist will be able to give us an exact number of individuals,” said Dunbar.

The renovation is part of a £9 million project to repair the roof, install a heating system, and restore the chapel's interior. Other discoveries since the project began include bone fragments in the chapel grounds, a stone buttress in the roof containing a hidden stone beehive used for producing honey and another roof slab with hearts carved into it.


Jeff said...

You'll learn MUCH more about the bones at the following link ...

Richard said...

I'm sorry to say that the link above does not have much more about the bones, except a couple of photos and some fairly wild speculation based on myth and misinterpretation, without any factual basis.

Jeff said...

The two photographs of the bones were their FIRST publication, and the article shows, according to an 1846 report to the Royal Institute of British Architects by the Chapel's chief restoration architect, the bones were not there in that year, and so could not, as The Scotsman article states, have been there since the 1600s. I would think that an even marginally close reading of the article should have made that clear.

Dennis Clark said...

When I visited Rosslyn Chapel on January 29, 2008, the guide mentioned that there were rumors of burials beneath the slab at the north end of the chapel between the Master and Apprentice pillars. He said, too, that usually only a heart or a skull of an esteemed person would be buried in a chapel. Bodies were usually buried in a crypt which was down the stairs on the East side of the chapel.