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Lou – an update from the Human Remains Team

Ray Baldry excavating Lou.

Our sneaky skeleton of SH18 was Lou, discovered during set-up week.

In our end of season update , we mentioned that we had sent a toe bone for carbon dating. Excitingly, we have now got the result back!

Lou comes from 658 – 767 AD. The carbon dates from the main burial ground excavation suggest it was in use between 650 – 875 AD, making it very likely that this individual was a contemporary of some of our other skeletons.

This result raises other questions though, as we still don’t know how this burial links to the rest of the burial ground physically and socially.

Geophysical survey of Boneyard by David Wood. Key - Blue pin men = excavated skeletons; black outlines = previous excavations

It has been suggested that a recent geophysical survey might show the burial ground extending across the whole of the field we camp in. However, previous evaluation trenches (marked as black squares towards the centre of the image) exposed no skeletons, making it more likely that the burials stop before this.

So is Lou part of another area of burials? Is this individual on their own, and if so why?

The only way to know is by digging. The excavation of human remains is not something to be taken lightly, so we hope that we would be able to plan and carry out such an excavation in as scientific and ethical a way as possible. Not this year, but hopefully a future project…


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