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OffbeatEnglish queen's bones 'found in cathedral's royal chests'

17:41  16 may  2019
17:41  16 may  2019 Source:   news.sky.com

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Bones held in mortuary chests in Winchester Cathedral could include those of an early English queen , researchers have found . Although researchers believe the two juvenile skeletons discovered in Winchester Cathedral were of two boys "almost certainly of royal blood" and aged of a similar age

The bones of an early English queen are believed to have been discovered in mortuary chests at Winchester Cathedral . Queen Emma of Normandy, who died in the Hampshire city in 1052, was the queen consort to two successive kings of England , Ethelred the Unready and Danish invader Cnut

English queen's bones 'found in cathedral's royal chests'© Other Queen Emma's bones are part of Winchester Cathedral's new Kings and Scribes: The Birth of a Nation exhibition The bones of an early English queen are believed to have been discovered in mortuary chests at Winchester Cathedral.

Queen Emma of Normandy, who died in the Hampshire city in 1052, was the queen consort to two successive kings of England, Ethelred the Unready and Danish invader Cnut the Great, also known as Canute.

She was also the mother of King Edward the Confessor and King Hardacnut of Denmark.

Her remains are said to have been found among a jumble of 1,300 bones within six painted wooden caskets at the cathedral, which were believed to contain the remains of kings and bishops before the Norman conquest of England in the 11th century.

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Bones held in mortuary chests in Winchester Cathedral could include those of an early English queen , researchers have found . Although researchers believe the two juvenile skeletons discovered in Winchester Cathedral were of two boys "almost certainly of royal blood" and aged of a similar age.

Bones held in mortuary chests in Winchester Cathedral could include those of an early English queen , researchers have found . Although researchers believe the two juvenile skeletons discovered in Winchester Cathedral were of two boys "almost certainly of royal blood" and aged of a similar age.

English queen's bones 'found in cathedral's royal chests'© Getty An 18th century engraving depicting Queen Emma of Normandy as widow of Canute and having to prove she was innocent of unchastity by walking on fire

A conservation project was launched in 2012, and three years later, radiocarbon dating carried out by experts from the University of Oxford confirmed the bones were from the late Anglo-Saxon and early Norman periods.

English queen's bones 'found in cathedral's royal chests'
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Since then scientists from the University of Bristol have been trying to match the bones in the chests with historical burial records.

They believe some of the remains may belong to Queen Emma of Normandy.

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The six chests have been found to hold the remains of at least 23 individuals. JOHN CROOK / WINCHESTER CATHEDRAL . Bones held in mortuary chests in Winchester Cathedral could include those of an early English queen , researchers have found .

Bones held in mortuary chests in Winchester Cathedral could include those of an early English queen , researchers have found . University of Bristol biological anthropologists found they contained the remains of at least 23 individuals

English queen's bones 'found in cathedral's royal chests'© Other Some 1,300 bones were found within six painted wooden chests at the cathedral

A cathedral spokesman said: "The secrets hidden within Winchester Cathedral's mortuary chests are gradually being unlocked.

"The ability to identify the sex, age and physical characteristics of these individuals has resulted in some exciting discoveries, including the remains of a mature female dispersed within several chests.

"It is not yet certain, but these bodily remains could be those of Queen Emma, daughter of Richard I, Duke of Normandy.

English queen's bones 'found in cathedral's royal chests'© Other Queen Emma's remains were found among a jumble of bones

"She was a powerful political figure in late Saxon England, and her family ties provided William the Conqueror with a measure of justification for his claim to the English throne.

"Completely unexpected was the discovery of two juvenile skeletons, adolescent boys who had died between the ages of 10 to 15 years in the mid-11th to late 12th-century.

"Their presence in the chests was not recorded and their identity is still unknown, but they were almost certainly of royal blood."

Professor Kate Robson Brown, who led the investigation, said: "We cannot be certain of the identity of each individual yet, but we are certain that this is a very special assemblage of bones."

The cathedral spokesman added: "These discoveries could place Winchester Cathedral at the birth of our nation and establish it as the first formal royal mausoleum."

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