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 Post subject: The Bones of King Alfred
PostPosted: 20 Jan 2014 8:19 am 
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Joined: 08 Apr 2008 6:44 am
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Location: Winchester
An important breakthrough in the hunt for the remains of King Alfred (reigned 871 to 899) here in Winchester.

The first remains of King Alfred the Great may have been found at last after tests on a pelvic bone unearthed in Winchester revealed it belonged to either the Anglo-Saxon King or his son Edward.
But after a high-profile excavation of an unmarked grave where the Anglo-Saxon King was believed to be buried, the location of the bone was much more mundane - a storage box in the bowels of a local museum.
Archaeologists from the University of Winchester had initially analysed six skeletons excavated from a grave at St Bartholomew's Church, the historic site of Hyde Abbey, last March.
They believed that the remains belonged to Alfred and other members of his family, whose were known to have been interred at Hyde Abbey centuries after their death.
But when each skeleton was found to date from the 1300s - several hundred years after the death of Alfred in 899 - the researchers turned to a set of remains found in the late 1990s during a previous excavation of the same site.
In a dusty storage box filled with animal remains at Winchester's City Museum they found a fragment of human pelvic bone, including the right hip joint, which had been buried beneath the historic site of the high altar in 1999 but had never been examined.
Scientific analysis of the bone revealed it had belonged to a man aged 26-45, who died between 895 and 1017 AD - meaning it could conceivably belong either to Alfred or his son and successor Edward.

The article continues here. ... useum.html

For those in the UK, a documentary will be screened at 9pm on BBC2 tomorrow, entitled "The Search for Alfred the Great", and presented by Neil Oliver.

This is a very important moment, since Alfred was such an immense figure in our history, fully deserving of the title "great", and in many ways the father of the English nation. As Neil Oliver says:

“To find the remains of any lost historical figure is extremely rare. It beggars belief. To find that Alfred the Great or his direct descendant has survived, literally by the seat of his pants, into the 21st century is astonishing,” said Oliver. “It overshadows the discovery of Richard III’s remains in my opinion. We are talking about a body of a king more than half a millennia older. He's one of the few great kings of England that most people can name. He's a mythologised figure, almost like Arthur."
Alfred was the first monarch of Wessex to call himself “King of the Anglo-Saxons”, and the only British king to earn the moniker “the Great”, due to his success in a series of battles that several times repealed the onslaught of the Vikings.
“Alfred saved England from the Vikings. He introduced literacy, he established the boroughs – the fortified regions we still have today. He is at the foundation level of England.
“To stand in a lab and look at the dark grey matter that in all probability is a piece of him was one of the most surprising and exciting moments of my archaeological career.” ... ogist.html

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