Bicester Anglo-Saxon skeletons re-interred
- 8 October 2011
- From the section Oxford
Fifteen Anglo-Saxon skeletons unearthed in Oxfordshire last year have been re-interred in a church memorial garden.
A requiem mass was held on Saturday before a wicker coffin containing all the remains was buried at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Bicester.
The Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, whose diocese covers Bicester, led the Roman Catholic ceremony.
The burial led to a disagreement with the church and local archaeologists, who wanted the bones put in a museum.
The skeletons, exhumed from what is thought to be an old Christian burial ground, were reinterred to respect the original burial rites.
James Lewis of Thames Valley Archaeological Services said: "As archaeologists we'd much rather they had gone into a museum, which would be available for future analysis.
"There are other ways of showing respect other than reburying."
The archaeologists' case went to the Ministry Of Justice but it was ruled the bones were not of national significance and so could be buried.
Speaking after the ceremony the Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham, William Kenney, said of the Anglo-Saxon deceased: "These are the remains they have left on earth and they should be treated with dignity."
The remains inside the coffin have been buried in plastic bags in case archaeologists need access to them in future.
The skeletons are largely female and over the age of 35, with the remains of just one male discovered.
Isotope analysis revealed they were originally from the UK and had a lot of fish in their diet.