Long before the remains of Richard III were unearthed in a car park in Leicester, a mass grave containing 9 skeletons was found at Stirling Castle.
The discovery was made in 1997 by Kirkdale Archaeology during excavation works on a lost royal chapel in the castle’s Royal Palace.
The skeletons, 8 male and 1 female, range from a 6 month old infant to a 40 year old woman. It has been widely accepted that the bodies were buried there during the Scottish Wars of Independence (1296-1357) and must have been of high status or importance to have been interned in such an important site.
Two of the skeletons – a knight and a woman – attracted international headlines when they were featured in a BBC 2 History Cold Case documentary in 2010. The programme followed Professor Sue Black and her colleagues from the University of Dundee as they used the latest scientific techniques to discover more about the skeletons –from their diet to where they may have lived. The team reconstructed both skeletons bringing us face to face with people from the distant past. Visitors to the castle today can see the reconstructions in a special exhibition.
This Saturday (24th May 2014) the intriguing story of the Stirling Skeletons continues when Dr Jo Buckberry, a battle trauma expert from Bradford University will be presenting her findings on the brutal deaths of the skeletons in a unique event in the castle’s Great Hall. Silent Witnesses: Trauma Tales from Stirling Castle will focus on Jo’s research which reveals the injuries and traumas sustained by these individuals and the weapons that may have played a part in their untimely deaths.
It would appear that the Stirling Skeletons still have plenty of secrets to be discovered!
Silent Witnesses takes place at Stirling Castle on Saturday 24th May at 7.30pm and costs £10-15. Tickets are available online and on site at the castle.