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Medieval hospital burial ground found in Yorkshire

Archaeologists are excavating a 700-year-old medieval hospital burial ground beneath a car park in South Yorkshire.

They know a hospital run by monks was on the site but there were no written records of burials from before the early 17th century.

But the skeletons of adults, children and babies have already been scientifically dated to the 14th century and one of them is a confirmed case of scurvy, a vitamin deficiency disease brought on by poor diet and common among impoverished people of that era.

Because Bawtry was an inland port during the 13th and 14th century it could be some of the remains may have belonged to foreigners.

“By analysing the remains over a period of time we will hope to find out more about their lives and how they died. It is possible they were not all local,” said Dr Hadley.

“Hospitals in medieval times were not like modern ones, in that they cared for people who were not necessarily sick, such as the elderly, waifs and travellers.”

The dig found no evidence of coffins or other artefacts, and the burials were all tightly packed together, with probably more underneath.

“It is difficult to tell how many burials were on this site but I would estimate around 100. They were only 1.2 metres below the surface of the old Masonic Hall car park,” said Dr Hadley.

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