UK

Has King Alfred the Great's Skeleton Been Found In A Discarded Box In A Winchester Museum?

17/01/2014 13:42 GMT | Updated 25/01/2014 21:01 GMT
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Historians believe they may have found one of the nation's "great" kings.

The bones of King Alfred the Great or his son, Edward the Elder, are believed to have been found in a box.

The remains were apparently stored in a museum - and not buried in an unmarked grave as previously thought.

Archaeologists carried out an exhumation of the grave at St Bartholomew's Church in Winchester, Hampshire, last March in a bid to find the last resting place of the ninth-century king.

Tests have shown that those remains were not the influential warrior king but further investigations have uncovered a pelvis bone which had been in storage at Winchester City Museum from a previous excavation carried out at the end of the 1990s.

Carbon dating has shown that this bone dates back to 895-1017, which scientists from the University of Winchester believe ties in with the death of the two kings and is unlikely to have come from anyone apart from the father or the son.

One of England's most impressive Saxon kings, Alfred the Great ruled over Britain between 871 and 899, according to the official website of the British monarchy. A fearsome fighter, Alfred earned acclaim for the defense of his kingdom against attacks by Danish invaders as well as for his championing of literacy and education. He is the only known British king to be given the honorific title "the Great," the BBC notes.

While the monarch was originally buried near Winchester Cathedral, his remains are believed to have been moved several times since then, perhaps ending up on the grounds of St. Bartholomew's or becoming fertiliser for a local prison governor's garden, according to the Guardian.

Unearthed