Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

'17th Century plague victim' uncovered in Edinburgh school grounds

Partially excavated burial Image copyright City of Edinburgh Council

Human remains thought to date back to the 17th Century or earlier have been uncovered in the grounds of an Edinburgh primary school.

It was found during an excavation over the Easter holidays during works for a new classroom building at St Mary's RC Primary School in Leith.

It is thought it is the site of a historical unmarked grave of what could be a plague victim.

The area has been fenced off but the school is open for pupils.

'Astonishing find'

John Lawson, City of Edinburgh Council archaeologist, said: "The skeleton was uncovered as part of a carefully planned excavation.

"This seems to be the site of an unknown, unmarked grave dating to the 17th Century.

"It is thought the burial, outside the original Edinburgh town borders in Leith, may be a plague victim but further analysis needs to be undertaken."

Richard Lewis, City of Edinburgh Council's culture convener, said: "Edinburgh has such a rich history and the skeleton at St Mary's is yet another astonishing archaeological find."

Mary Bainbridge, acting head at the school, said: "The school is very excited about the educational opportunities that the archaeological work on site may present and I have already been in discussion with the council's archaeologist about the different ways the pupils will be able to engage and the experiences that can be offered."

Image copyright City of Edinburgh Council

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