Human remains uncovered at York Minster

Remains found at York Minster The remains are thought to date to before the present Minster's construction

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Human remains believed to be more than 800 years old have been discovered at York Minster.

The body was found by archaeologists during routine work to build a new lift-shaft in the Minster's Undercroft.

It is the first time for 40 years that archaeologists have been permitted to work at the cathedral.

The lift-shaft is being constructed as part of the £10.5m York Minster Revealed project due to be completed in May 2015.

The Very Reverend Keith Jones, Dean of York, said he hoped the discovery would provide new insights into the earliest years of York Minster.

Dean Jones added: "York Minster's walls have been witness to centuries of human life and I feel sure that archaeologists are likely to encounter even more human burials during their three-week tenure.

"We would expect to find, when working at York Minster, evidence of previous life all around the place. Having found the remains of our forebears, they will be reverently cared for until such time as they can be reinterred within the walls of York Minster."

Ian Milsted, from York Archaeological Trust, said the grave site had been undisturbed for many centuries which led them to think it pre-dated the present building which was constructed over 250 years between the 13th and 15th centuries.

He said: "To be the first archaeologist here in 40 years, unearthing York Minster's history is amazing. It really is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

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