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Remains of pilgrim found at Medieval leprosy hospital

The remains of a Christian pilgrim have been found at the medieval cemetery at St. Mary Magdalen leprosarium in Winchester, England.

The pilgrim’s burial was excavated as part of a larger, eight-year-long archaeological project focusing on the leprosarium of St Mary Magdalen. Over 100 individual burials were discovered at this site, including that of the pilgrim, who was identified due to the presence of scallop shell in his grave. This is indeed a well-documented symbol of pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, which was gaining in popularity in the 12th century.

It represents the first burial of a pilgrim suffering from leprosy documented in Western Europe, which is one of the reasons that the archaeologists chose to analyse it in details. The complete findings are now published in PLOS Neglected tropical diseases.

[Full story]

Story: Léa Surugue, IBT | Photo: Roffey, S. and colleagues, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

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