Human remains, and possibly a mass grave containing victims from the Siege of Derry in 1688 have been found in Ireland. The siege lasted 105 days during the Williamite War where the city of Derry, a Williamite stronghold, was besieged by a Jacobite army until it was relieved by Royal Navy ships.
“It is probably a mass grave, but it is hard to say for sure. Certainly the finds suggest from the relatively small area that we opened at that end of the church, that there were quite a number of burials. We have one articulated skeleton, a skull in another church and at the side of that church we have more bones emerging, so we have at least three sets of human remains within two relatively small churches that pre-date the existing church.
“It is reasonable to extrapolate that there are likely to be a lot of burials in the area. The material found around them are compatible with the Siege period, but that’s not to say they couldn’t just be ordinary burials from the two previous churches in that area,” he said, adding: “We are near to the Augustine Friary, so there is a possibility that this indicates a continuity of worship and use of the land for graves. But, that said, they could also be Siege related, but we are not able to prove this beyond doubt.”
Mr McSparron continued: “Obviously, if we were to excavate the area fully and if we found evidence of trauma on them then it might indicate it was Siege related, but because of the nature of excavation we did not disturb them, because we did not want to damage them. They are human remains and we treated them with reverence and respect.”