Skip to comments.Skeletal remains of Cromwell’s prisoners of war found in mass graves
Posted on 05/22/2020 11:49:05 AM PDT by robowombat
Skeletal remains of Cromwells prisoners of war found in mass graves on SEPTEMBER 5, 2015
Archaeologists overseeing construction at Durham Universitys Palace Green Library discovered two mass graves in November of 2013. Durham University archaeologists didnt know it at the time but these skeletal remains would solve a mystery that dates back to 1650.
On September 3rd 1650 a short but bloody battle was fought in Dunbar, Scotland between the English Parliamentarians and the Scottish Royalists during the Third English Civil War (1642-1652). In less than one hour the Parliamentarians commanded by Oliver Cromwell crushed a Scottish army loyal to Charles II (Brown 2015). An estimated 3000 Scottish soldiers perished while the English army lost less than 100 at that Battle of Dunbar.
Cromwell took 5000 men prisoner that day and marched them 100 miles south from Dunbar to Durham, England. 1000 of these men died of hunger, exhaustion, or disease during the grueling journey (Brown 2015). Its estimated that an additional 1700 prisoners died while jailed at Durham Castle and Cathedral. Those that survived their captivity at Durham were sent to the American colonies to work as indentured servants (Brown 2015).
Historians believed that it was likely that the estimated 1700 prisoners, who died while in captivity at Durham, were buried in the area but scholars didnt know where until the mass graves were uncovered during the construction at Durham Universitys Palace Green Library in 2013, which is part of the citys UNESCO World Heritage site (Brown 2015).
Partial skull showing pipe facets on one of the adult males unearthed at Durham University. Image credit: Richard Rayner / North News and Pictures Partial skull showing pipe facets on one of the adult males unearthed at Durham University. Image credit: Richard Rayner / North News and Pictures Durham University archaeologists carefully excavated the two mass graves then analyzed and scientifically tested the bones. Results of the scientific tests and morphological examination of the skeletal remains showed that identities of the bodies buried at Durham University were consistent with the prisoners captured by Cromwell at the Battle of Dunbar in 1650.
A physical examination of the bones revealed that the bones belonged to between 17 and 28 individuals, the ages of which were between 13 and 25 years old at the time of death. Archaeologists noted that all of the adult skeletons were male (Durham University 2015). Isotope analysis of the dental enamel revealed that some of the people were from Scotland or from Northern England (Durham University 2015).
To date the bones researchers used a combination of historical context and radiocarbon dating. Two of the skulls had pipe facets in their teeth these are crescent-shaped areas of wear and tear caused by smoking clay pipes (Durham University 2015). Clay pipes were commonly used in Scotland until after 1640. Radiocarbon dating placed the bodies between 1625 and 1660 (Durham University 2015).
Considering the number of Dunbar prisoners who died at Durham, archaeologists believe that there are more mass graves to be found in the area
Scottish slaves in America.
In its day, the New Model Army was the most powerful and advanced army in Europe.
My husband’s family is descended from John Cragin (sometimes spelled Craggin) who was one of the Scots prisoners. The story is he contacted smallpox aboard ship and was in danger of being thrown overboard but a young girl Sarah Dawes pleaded for his life and agreed to nurse him to health. Some years later the two were wed.
Some additional details,
Slip kid, slip kid, second generation
I'm a solder at 13...
No easy way to be free.
Huh? Did the author mean to say, "Clay pipers were not commonly used in Scotland until after 1640?" That would make more sense when trying to be precise about the time-line. Also, French Napoleonic troops and American Civil War soldiers had similar dental indentations 150 - 225 years later.
I think we are talking about Oliver Cromwell.
I think the two Cromwells are distantly related.
Ocean travel was hazardous. One of my great-great grandfathers and his family emigrated from Ireland to Canada in 1849. A cholera epidemic swept the ship while on the voyage. My ancestor was carrying a New Testament bible and recorded in it the death of his wife and several of his children. He and my great-grandfather survived and made it to Canada.
The amount of white slavery far outnumbers black slavery throughout history.ALL slaves matter!
BTW,slavery of all types is alive and well so when one looks at their porn on their phone it could be a Eastern European girl enslaved in porn and the phone made in China by a worker slave.BOTH are BIG MONEY!
I don’t think many realize how desperate a person who was not rich had to be to emigrate. The conditions were rough and the voyage was very expensive.
Thomas Cromwell was chief minister for Henry VIII after the execution of Thomas More. He fell under disfavor of Henry because of the uprising of Catholic in the North and one of Henry’s wives. A pretty good series about him called Wolf Hall.
Best band of all time!
Oliver was Thomas’ great-grandnephew.
That was a great miniseries.
Yes I know that.
“... ..skeletal remains would solve a mystery that dates back to 1650. .”
This was a artifact of the English Civil War (16421651)
Thomas Cromwell, 1st Earl of Essex, KG, PC. (1485 28 July 1540) was an English lawyer and statesman who served as chief minister to King Henry VIII of England from 1532 to 1540, when he was beheaded on orders of the king.
Thomas Cromwell was a 100 years earlier!
I’ve read that the two, Oliver Cromwell & Thomas Cromwell are related.
Speaking of Wolf Hall .
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