On May 18th 2018, the Scottish soldiers from the Battle of Dunbar (1650) who had been discovered and excavated in 2013 from Durham University’s Palace Green Library were reburied in a poignant and reflective ceremony in Durham City.
In early March 2017, Mark Roughley and Isabel Hengelhaupt (research assistant and postgraduate research student respectively) from Face Lab at Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), made the journey from Liverpool to the Department of Archaeology at Durham University to make 3D scans of the skeletal remains of the Scottish Soldier known as Skeleton 22 (SK22).
On Friday 12 May we commemorated those Scottish soldiers who were held prisoner and died in Durham after the Battle of Dunbar.
In late October, the Scottish Soldiers Archaeology Project Team embarked on a four day trip to Boston, Massachusetts, in the USA.
The aim of this initial ancient DNA analysis was two-fold. Firstly, to assess the biomolecular preservation and the presence of endogenous ancient DNA in a representative number of samples and tissues from the remains found at Palace Green. Secondly, to try to match skeletal elements found in the same trench that were suspected to belong to the same individual during excavation but that came back with very different age assessments during osteological analysis.
We have used isotope analysis to investigate the places where the men buried at Palace Green spent their childhoods. We have looked at the isotopes of strontium, oxygen and lead. Each gives us slightly different information.
The various medical conditions suffered by the Scottish Soldiers is one area that we have investigated in quite a lot of detail. We have already blogged about some of the dental problems the soldiers suffered from and about the work being done in York looking at dental plaque. In today’s post we are going to look at scurvy, which is something we think some of the soldiers may have suffered from.
Today Durham University has announced the decisions that have been taken regarding where the remains of the Scottish Soldiers will be reburied once our research project has finished, and how they will be commemorated.
Given the lack of success we had with the parasite samples (both samples came back negative), pollen analysis has only been done on the waterlogged deposits found below the bodies of the Scottish soldiers. This is because waterlogged soils generally preserve botanical remains really well.
If you read our earlier blog on 3D models and dental health then you’ll know that the skeletons excavated from Palace green have quite a lot of dental calculus. If dental plaque is not adequately removed from teeth, it can mineralise, forming dental tarter, also known as dental calculus.