Skeletons of Franciscan friars discovered

15th century skullSeven 15th century skeletons have been found buried on a site that was once occupied by a Franciscan Friary in Aberdeen. The remains of the seven men have now been sent to Glasgow University for analysis. Marischal College occupied the site since the 16th century adding to its historical significance and the remains of many more burials have been found during the dig, including at least five other skulls. Walls of the various structures that existed over the centuries have been discovered, as well as fish bones, pottery and other objects. It looks like this site’s going to be extremely rich in archeological finds so I’ll look out for more information about it. There’s a video of a news report here. From Aberdeen City Council:

Walls and cobbled surfaces associated with the medieval friary have been uncovered – including parts of the early 16th century friary complex. Greyfriars Church itself survived until the early 20th century.

Walls of 17th-19th century university structures have also emerged and been recorded. Numerous objects have been found during the dig, including two complete pottery vessels dating from the 15th or 16th century.

The Franciscan Friars (known as Greyfriars because of the colour of their clothing) came to Aberdeen in the 1460s and it is likely that these burials took place not long after this date.

The graves had been cut deeply into the natural geology. The hands of the men were clasped as if in prayer and may have been bound into that posture with cloth, which has since decayed in the soil. These men were probably Franciscan friars and would have been buried in their habits, which were probably made from coarse wool cloth.

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