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18th-Century Monkey Bones Unearthed at Castle Site in England

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

England Monkey BonesNOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND—BBC News reports that the bones of three guenon monkeys, a species from central and western Africa, were unearthed at Nottingham Castle during an investigation carried out ahead of a construction project. The bones have been dated to the late eighteenth century, according to Gareth Davies of the York Archaeological Trust. “At that time, the ducal palace had been converted to apartments and these bones were just found in a levelling layer of rubbish,” he explained. The monkeys may have been the pets of Jane Kirkby, who lived at the castle from 1791 to 1825. Castle volunteer Yvonne Armitage said that she found a historical reference to a “large ape” that was Kirkby’s “constant companion.” Wear on the monkeys’ teeth indicates they had lived for a long time. Davies suggests they may have been buried in a grave that was later disturbed. To read about another excavation at an English castle, go to "Letter from England: Stronghold of the Kings in the North."

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