October is Black History Month and this is incredibly relevant to our small Anglo-Saxon ossuary in rural north Northumberland because the ossuary holds a diverse cosmopolitan multi-national population dating from 650-800AD.
Analysis of the isotopes of each skeletons’ teeth enamel enabled Durham University to pinpoint where each individual grow up. We know that less than 10% of the ossuary population came from the Bamburgh area with the majority coming from elsewhere in the British Isles but also Europe and beyond. This is beautifully illustrated in one skeleton of a child aged about 10 years old.
Skeleton 124 (excavated 1999) codeword Ādrinċeð
The analysis demonstrates that over the course of his/her short life this child travelled across possibly two continents to a final resting place in north east England. Whilst we cannot know the motivation that resulted in this family coming Bamburgh – we can all appreciate that it was a remarkable endeavour.
Visit the Digital Ossuary to see more detail about the whole Ossuary population.