Saturday, June 02, 2012

The Bones of Hythe

The largest and best preserved collection of ancient human bones and skulls in Britain is to be found at St Leonard’s church in Hythe.  Referenced in 1968 as ‘an orderly pile of dead men’s bones’ . There are four shelved arched bays and a stack of bones that is 7.5m x1.8mx1.8m.  The collection has remains of 4000 people with an estimation of 1500 skulls. The collection is unique and so I went off to look at it.

There are, as one would expect, several stories about the various bones and one note supposed they were those of ‘Danish pirates slain in a battle’ or ‘men who fell in the Battle of Hastings)… but a 2009 analysis of the skulls suggested a higher proportion of females than males… and 10% were juveniles…. The general consensus, however, is that they were dug up in the 13th century to make room for the church extension.P1000522



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