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Cathedral Grave May Have Belonged to a Medieval Knight

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Cathedral-Jousting-Wounds(Headland Archaeology Limited/Heritage Lottery Fund UK)

HEREFORD, ENGLAND—An osteological study of more than 700 sets of human remains excavated from Hereford Cathedral suggests that one of the graves held the remains of a knight. Analysis of the knight’s teeth shows he was likely from Normandy and had moved to Hereford later in life. The skeleton, which has been dated to between A.D. 1100 and 1300, had several fractures to the ribs and right shoulder that are consistent with injuries sustained while jousting. Only some of the wounds had healed; the unhealed wounds had been sustained close to the time of death. The body also had an unusual twisting break in the lower left leg, perhaps inflicted after a hit to the right side of the upper body while on horseback. The hit could have spun the rider, catching the left foot in the stirrup. “Obviously we can never be sure how people came about their wounds, but in this case there is a considerable amount of evidence suggesting this man was involved in some form of violent activity and the locations of his injuries do match quite closely what might be expected from taking part in mock battles. The fact that he was still doing this after he was 45 suggests he must have been very tough,” Andy Boucher of Headland Archaeology Limited told British Archaeology News Resource. For a similar discovery, read "A Knight's Family Crypt Unearthed in Scotland."

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