Burials at St Benet’s

An Examination of Burials and Wooden Coffins from St Benet’s Churchyard.

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In 2015, specialists from York Archaeological Trust and York Osteoarchaeology reviewed the material from the excavations that had taken place at 12-18 Swinegate, 14 Little Stonegate and 18 Back Swinegate in York. These excavations took place between October 1989 and July 1990, and they represent two of the most interesting, though little known of the Trust’s excavations. A total of fifteen trenches were excavated at this time and these revealed a complex sequence of deposits dating from Roman times to the post-medieval period, together with a number of exceptional artefacts including a collection of well-preserved wooden coffins and covers, and associated human remains of late 9th to early-11th century date relating to the cemetery of the lost church of St Benet’s.

The project reviewed the original material to create a new set of site reports as well as new research that completed a woodworking technology report on the remains of the coffins and associated wood.  In addition new work to carbon 14 date seven of the skeletons, four within coffins or under wooden covers and three that lay in graves with no associated coffins, was carried out as well as new osteoarchaeological reports on these seven skeletons, plus a small finds report on a small collection of objects buried with one of the individuals.

The work led to a new exhibition of one of the female coffined skeletons at JORVIK in December 2015. Unfortunately due to the flooding which closed JORVIK from early 2016 the skeleton was withdrawn from display but will return to JORVIK in the spring of 2017 when the museum reopens to the public. Another male skeleton, which is assumed may have come from Africa or has traits of African ancestry is also going to be on display in the new version of JORVIK alongside the new isotopic research that hopes to shed more light on this interesting individual.

It is hoped that this initial re-examination of this extremely interesting site in the centre of York could lead to further investigation of the Viking Age in the city, specifically the identification of further human remains from this period.

 

Project Results

Archaeological Investigations at 12-18 Swinegate, 14 Little Stonegate and 18 Back Swinegate

 

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Sample Reference: 1989.28 context 3381

Sample Reference: 1990.28 context 3492

Sample Reference: 1990.1 context 14071

 

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Woodworking Technology Report

The Pre-Conquest Coffins from 12-19 Swinegate and 18 Back Swinegate

A Furnished Grave in the Cemetery of St Benet’s Church

 

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Skeleton numbers: 3379,3381, 3492, 7061, 14007, 14071, 15042. 12-18 Swinegate, 14 Little Stonegate & 18 Back Swinegate.

 

Burial Images

  • St Benet's burial
  • St Benet's burial 2
  • The metalled surface in trench 3 together with later posts, Swinegate
  • The nine men's morris game carved onot a plank above burial 14007, St Benet's
  • A wooden coffin lid, St Benet's
  • Burial 3489 showing the grave marker stone with skeleton removed, St Benet's
  • Burial 3489 showing the grave marker stone, St Benet's 2
  • Burial 3489 showing the grave marker stone, St Benet's
  • Burial with coffin lid moved St Benet's
  • Skeleton 3492 and 3495 (uppermost skeleton) showing the staining on bones, St Benet's

Pathology Images – SK3379

  • St Benet's SK3379 cranial morphology (1)
  • St Benet's SK3379 cranial morphology (2)
  • St Benet's SK3379 cranial morphology (3)
  • St Benet's SK3379 cranial morphology (4)
  • St Benet's SK3379 cranial morphology (5)
  • St Benet's SK3379 cranial morphology (6)
  • St Benet's SK3379 cranial morphology (7)
  • St Benet's SK3379 cranial morphology (8)
  • St Benet's SK3379 cranial morphology (9)
  • St Benet's SK3379 DJD (1)
  • St Benet's SK3379 DJD (2)
  • St Benet's SK3379 retroversion of shoulder and marginal osteophyte
  • St Benet's SK3379 Schmorl's nodes in thoracic and lumbar spine (1)
  • St Benet's SK3379 Schmorl's nodes in thoracic and lumbar spine (2)
  • St Benet's SK3379 Zygomatic changes (1)
  • St Benet's SK3379 Zygomatic changes (2)

Pathology Images – SK3381

  • St Benet's SK 3381C2 transverse foramen resorption
  • St Benet's SK 3381Cranial assymetry (1)
  • St Benet's SK 3381Cranial assymetry (2)
  • St Benet's SK 3381fusion of manubrium and sternum
  • St Benet's SK 3381OD
  • St Benet's SK 3381Schmorl's nodes (1)
  • St Benet's SK 33811st rib assymetry (1)
  • St Benet's SK 33811st rib assymetry (2)
  • St Benet's SK3381 Vertebral lesions (1)
  • St Benet's SK3381 Vertebral lesions (2)
  • St Benet's SK3381 Vertebral lesions (3)
  • St Benet's SK3381 Vertebral lesions (4)
  • St Benet's SK3381 Vertebral lesions (5)
  • St Benet's SK3381 Vertebral lesions (6)

Pathology Images – SK3492

  • St Benet's SK 3492  MC2 cyst
  • St Benet's SK 3492 Assymetrical manubrium
  • St Benet's SK 3492 assymetrical sacrum
  • St Benet's SK 3492 assymetry of vertebral bodies
  • St Benet's SK 3492 cortical defects (1)
  • St Benet's SK 3492 cortical defects (2)
  • St Benet's SK 3492 cortical defects (3)
  • St Benet's SK 3492 cortical defects (4)
  • St Benet's SK 3492 cortical defects (5)
  • St Benet's SK 3492 L os-coxa and sacrum osteophyte formation (1)
  • St Benet's SK 3492 L os-coxa and sacrum osteophyte formation (2)
  • St Benet's SK 3492 MC 2cyst
  • St Benet's SK 3492 possible ossified haematoma (1)
  • St Benet's SK 3492 possible ossified haematoma (2)
  • St Benet's SK 3492 possible ossified haematoma (3)
  • St Benet's SK 3492 S1 bifid spinous process (1)
  • St Benet's SK 3492 S1 bifid spinous process (2)
  • St Benet's SK 3492 S1 bifid spinous process (3)
  • St Benet's SK 3492 schmorl's nodes (1)
  • St Benet's SK 3492 schmorl's nodes (2)

Pathology Images – 7061

  • St Benet's SK7061 new bone formation on anterior surface of vertebrae (1)
  • St Benet's SK7061 new bone formation on anterior surface of vertebrae (2)
  • St Benet's SK7061 new bone formation on anterior surface of vertebrae (3)
  • St Benet's SK7061 flaring of vertebral bodies
  • St Benet's SK7061 hyper-vascular impressions on sacrum (1)
  • St Benet's SK7061 hyper-vascular impressions on sacrum (2)
  • St Benet's SK7061 hyper-vascular manubrium
  • St Benet's SK7061 lesions on inferior margin of zygoma (1)
  • St Benet's SK7061 lesions on inferior margin of zygoma (2)
  • St Benet's SK7061 lesions on inferior margin of zygoma (3)
  • St Benet's SK7061 lesions on inferior margin of zygoma (4)
  • St Benet's SK7061 lesions on inferior margin of zygoma (5)
  • St Benet's SK7061 lesions on inferior margin of zygoma (6)
  • St Benet's SK7061 Schmorl's nodes (1)
  • St Benet's SK7061 Schmorl's nodes (2)
  • St Benet's SK7061 Schmorl's nodes (3)
  • St Benet's SK7061 Schmorl's nodes (4)
  • St Benet's SK7061 Schmorl's nodes (5)
  • St Benet's SK7061 Schmorl's nodes (6)
  • St Benet's SK7061 Schmorl's nodes (7)
  • St Benet's SK7061 slight calculus

Pathology Images – 14701

  • St Benet's SK14071 calcaneus secundaris (2)
  • St Benet's SK14071 distal metatarsal articular assymetry
  • St Benet's SK14071 distal metatarsal articular assymetry
  • St Benet's SK14071 distal ulna fracture (1)
  • St Benet's SK14071 distal ulna fracture (2)
  • St Benet's SK14071 distal ulna fracture (3)
  • St Benet's SK14071 distal ulna fracture (4)
  • St Benet's SK14071 fusion of sternum and xyphoid
  • St Benet's SK14071 retroversion of the shoulder (1)
  • St Benet's SK14071 retroversion of the shoulder (2)
  • St Benet's SK14071 supernumerary sacral vertebra
  • St Benet's SK14071 thoracic marginal osteophytes (1)
  • St Benet's SK14071 thoracic marginal osteophytes (2)
  • St Benet's SK14071 thoracic marginal osteophytes (3)

Pathology Images – 15042

  •  St Benet's SK15042 dental chips on maxillary incisors
  • St-Benets-SK15042
  • St Benet's SK15042 right maxillary M1 carie
  • St Benet's SK15042 right maxilla internally draining abscess
  •  St Benet's SK15042 right maxilla externally draining abscess
  • St Benet's SK15042 right maxilla externally draining abscess and carie on M13
  • St Benet's SK15042 left maxilla internally draining abscess
  • St Benet's SK15042 left tibia ossified haematoma
  • St Benet's SK15042 healed fracture to distal right radius (1)
  • St Benet's SK15042 cortical proximal left femur
  •  St Benet's SK15042 bilateral muscle excavations on medial clavicles
  • St Benet's SK15042 bifid S1 neural arch

Grave Goods Images – 15042

  • Knife
  • Belt Buckle
  • Hone Stone
  • Grouped Picture

Skeleton and coffin installation images

Time-lapse video of wooden coffin and female skeleton installation at JORVIK Viking Centre

Maps

  • Trench Location
  • Site Location

Partners

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