Aberdeen Isotope Archaeologists Shed Light on Edinburgh Dark Ages Mystery

Aberdeen Isotope Archaeologists Shed Light on Edinburgh Dark Ages Mystery

Research on the human remains found at Cramond by Aberdeen isotope specialist Dr. Kate Britton, and her student Orsolya Czére, has hit the news this week as a new free exhibition 'Dark Goings On In Cramond' opens at the Museum of Edinburgh.

The remains originate from a mass burial in the remains of a Roman bathhouse at Cramond, close to Edinburghs. Originally thought to be a later Medieval burial of plague victims, a targeted new investigation, led by John Lawson of Edinburgh City Council has bought vital new clues to who the individuals buried in the unusual crypt were.

Radiocarbon dating revealed the individuals in fact dated to the 6th century AD - almost 800 years older than originally expected.

Isotope research carried out by the team from Aberdeen, in collaboration with University of Reading and NIGL, demonstrates the majority of individuals were local although two of them could have originated from further afield including the far reaches of Western Scotland. Despite being along the coast, the individuals interred at Cramond did not eat seafood, instead having a diet based on terrestrial plants and animals.

Work by University of Edinburgh and University of Dundee identified the brutal wounds some of the individuals had suffered from immediately prior to death, and revealed older healed wounds - perhaps hinting some of the men buried in this unusual grave were warriors. Facial reconstructions and DNA analysis have provided further fascinating insights into the lives and histories of the individuals.

See more at:

The Scotsman http://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/heritage/cramond-dig-reveals-warriors-from-dark-ages-1-3904239

The BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-34412357

The Independant http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/archaeology/skeletons-found-in-edinburgh-car-park-could-be-noble-family-from-the-dark-ages-a6675311.html

The Daily Mail http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3256581/Are-faces-murdered-Scottish-royal-family-Reconstructions-Dark-Age-bodies-shed-light-mysterious-mass-grave.html