Archaeology

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In 2013 archaeologists made an exciting and rare discovery in the grounds of Lincoln Castle.  Whilst excavating the foundations for the new lift to the Medieval Wall Walk, they found an ancient church 3m below ground.  Within the building’s remains lay the skeletons of six adults and three children.

The most important find, however, was a seventh adult skeleton in a stone sarcophagus.  Discovered in the wall of the excavation trench, the sarcophagus had lain undisturbed for over 1,000 years.  In it was a complete skeleton with its feet draped in leather fragments from shoes worn at the point of burial.  The skeleton is that of an unidentified high status individual as only the wealthy would have been buried in stone sarcophagi.

The objects found during the recent castle excavations, including the stone sarcophagus are now on display within the female prison.

The sarcophagus is the centre piece of our archaeology exhibition, displayed alongside other finds from the excavations.  Roman, medieval, Georgian, Victorian and other objects and fragments shed new light on Lincoln Castle’s history.

We also tell the story of the skeletons.  Forensic tests have revealed fascinating information about the skeletons.  There are four males and three females, within an 18 - 45 age range, two children aged 10-14 and one child aged 2-6.  Intriguingly, one of the older children has evidence of a blade wound close to the time of death.  Archaeologists have pieced together the results of the various tests and are able to reveal more about the skeletons' lives in Anglo-Scandinavian Lincoln, complete with a facial reconstruction of one of the best preserved skeletons.