Sunday, January 19, 2014

King Alfred, The First King of the British, Possibly Found

A pelvic bone stored in a cardboard box in a museum in England has been confirmed using carbon dating as either that of King Alfred the Great, known as the First King of England, and The Most Perfect Man In History, or one of his sons.

King Alfred, King of England, Great Britain, Aethelweard, archaeology, archaeologist

After a dig by archaeologists last March at St. Bartholomew’s Church in Winchester, southern England, failed to yield King Alfred's remains, Dr. Katie Tucker, a University of Winchester human osteology researcher, examined some of the other excavations in the area. One box alone contained remains from hundreds of sites. One container was from 1990, from which only one bone had been tested at the time of the excavation. It had been found to be from the 17th or 18th century, far to late to be related. This time she struck gold. 

A pelvic bone from the appropriate location was found to date between 895 and 1017, and belonged to a man between 26 and 45 when he died. “Given the age at death of the individual and the probable male identity, the plausible candidates are King Alfred, King Edward the Elder, or the brother of King Edward, Aethelweard. All were buried in the abbey. However, historical evidence indicates that only the coffins of Alfred and Edward were at the site of the high altar," said Dr. Tucker. “The discovery of the bone in a pit dug into the graves in front of the high altar makes it far more likely it comes from either Alfred or Edward.” Further tests will be performed to try to more positively identify the specimens. 

The BBC will air a special about the find, "Neil Oliver presents The Search For Alfred The Great," on BBC Two, on Tuesday 21st January at 9pm. 

Here are related links with more about this discovery.:

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