Thursday, March 13, 2014

Fra femurs

This was the sight that appeared to Mandy Ewington as she was hiking in Monknash, South Wales, U.K. She sent a photograph to coastal archaeologist Karl-James Langford of Archaeology Cymru, who recognized what was happening because of previous archaeological digs, the depth of the bones in the cliff, and the history of the area. In the Middle Ages, the place had been a burial ground for a community of Cistercian monks. Langford's initial assessment suggested that the bones were those of a man in his late 20s. As a monk, he would have been buried in nothing but a winding sheet, fastened at the head and feet with shroud rings. The ring at his missing lower legs and feet is no doubt lost to the sea. Because of heavy rains which have caused large stretches of the coastline to collapse, British archaeologists are losing sites faster than they can excavate and document them. As Langford says, "It's like watching archaeology going like the pages of a book and the history is being revealed with every turn of the page."

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