Alfred the Great's granddaughter comes home
Thursday 17 June 2010
A lead box hidden inside a dusty tomb in Germany is the home of Alfred the Great's granddaughter, Queen Eadgyth. The tomb, opened in 2008 by archaeologists at Magdeburg Cathedral, carries the inscription “EDIT REGINE CINERES HIC SARCOPHAGVS HABET...” (the remains of Queen Eadgyth are in this sarcophagus...), and scientific tests on the bones inside have confirmed their owner's ancient identity.
Project Director Prof Harald Meller, of the State Office for Heritage Management and Archaeology, Saxony-Anhalt, explains why the identification process has been so fraught: “Medieval bones were moved frequently, and often mixed up, so it required some exceptional science to prove that they are indeed those of Eadgyth.”
University of Bristol expert Dr Alistair Pike explains the cutting-edge technology behind his team's identification of the long-lost queen, who moved to Germany to marry King Otto of Saxony in 929: “Strontium isotopes on tiny samples of tooth enamel have been measured. By micro sampling, using a laser, we can reconstruct the sequence of a person’s whereabouts, month by month up to the age of 14.” The records remarkably matched historical records of Eadgyth's childhood growing up in Wessex.
“Eadgyth must have moved around the kingdom following her father, king Edward the Elder during his reign,” adds Bristol's Prof Mark Horton. “When her mother was divorced in 919 - Eadgyth was between nine and ten - both were banished to a monastery, maybe Winchester or Wilton in Salisbury.”
Amazingly young Eadgyth's traumatic move has been identified on her skeleton too. Following her short holiday back in Britain, Eadgyth's bones will be reburied in Magdeburg Cathedral later this year, exactly 500 years after their last interment in 1510.
Life & Style blogs
Ebola outbreak: Virus to kill 67,000 in Monrovia by December, claims academic study
Alexander Wang for H&M: Pumping video of the campaign filmed in London has been released
Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
What do the text messages between you and your partner reveal about your relationship?
Controversy over Queen's 'first tweet' at London's Science Museum
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Tony Blair 'says Ed Miliband will lose 2015 general election'
Putin: The US is to blame for almost all the world's major conflicts
- 1 Revolutionary lost Caravaggio painting 'Mary Magdalen in Ecstasy' identified
- 2 McKamey Manor: This 'extreme' haunted house is the stuff of nightmares
- 3 Russell Brand says he will 'probably' give up acting to focus on his revolution
- 4 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 5 David Beckham's Haig Club whisky is exactly what’s wrong with the Highlands
£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...
£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...