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
A daily walk 'can add seven years to your life'
Your best friend as a teenager can determine how healthy you are as an adult
iPhone 6s and 6s Plus battery capacity will be weaker than predecessors, Apple leaks suggest
Pansexual: What is it - and when did the term gain popularity?
What do the emojis on Snapchat mean?
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
Tony Blair attacks Jeremy Corbyn's 'Alice In Wonderland' politics
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
- 1 Kermit the Frog has a new girlfriend named Denise
- 2 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 3 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 4 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 5 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
£22000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The role is a mixture of office...
£17100 - £20900 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the North West's leading...
£19000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join ...