Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Mystery of the Lead Coffin

From the annals of archaeology

Archaeologists were surprised when they opened an excavated stone coffin only to find another coffin made of lead inside. The team said they’ve never seen anything like it.

The remains of King Richard III were lost for centuries beneath a parking lot in Leicester, England, until archeologists discovered the site in Sept. 2012 and later confirmed the match. But other mysteries have been found, including a double coffin thought to have been sealed more than 100 years before Richard was buried.

Archaeologists returned to the Grey Friars monastery site in early July for more study. After several weeks of excavation, eight people lifted the lid off of a heavy coffin made of stone on July 23. They discovered that an inner coffin made of lead was sealed within the outer stone coffin.

The 7-foot-long stone coffin was thought to have been sealed in the 13th or 14th century. After its opening, the lead inner coffin was moved to the University of Leicester for researchers to analyze how to access it without damaging the remains inside.

This is how every scary movie about demons from the past being disturbed from their slumber starts.  All we need is Brendan Fraser* as the dashing archaeologist and a score by Jerry Goldsmith.

*Or Harrison Ford or Stewart Granger, depending on your generation.

2 barks and woofs on “The Mystery of the Lead Coffin

  1. You’ve got that right – that’s a coffin that shouldn’t be opened if they know what’s good for them. Surely the folks at Leicester University are familiar with the films of Peter Cushing!

  2. “No harm ever came from opening a chest.”
    “Yeah, right, and ‘No harm ever came from reading a book;’ you remember how that one went?”

    Archaeologists believe the double coffin indicates a “high-status burial” and may be one of the monastery’s founders, either Peter Swynsfeld (died in 1272) or William of Nottingham (died in 1330). A third option could be Sir William de Moton of Peckleton, a 14th century knight.

    Either that, or Stoker was very, very wrong – about both Transylvania, and Whitby. (Although if anyone finds anything similar on the grounds of Whitby Abbey I’ll gladly take that back: that is one spooky ruin, even in the daytime.)

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