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Tuesday, 13 August, 2002, 15:19 GMT 16:19 UK
Mixed message over bone find
medieval skeleton
Work was suspended after the find in Marlborough
Archaeologists say an early experiment in sexual equality may have been uncovered at a 700-year-old burial ground.

Workmen renovating a building society office in Marlborough High Street found bones dating back to the 14th Century.

The remains are believed to be from the cemetery of a priory which once stood on the site.

Experts say it is unusual because it contains the bones of men and women - from a time when most clergy frowned on the sexes mingling together.

'Rare things'

Wiltshire county archaeologist Roy Canham said: "We're definitely into a cemetery rather than individual burials.

"The remains are those of three males and one female - we therefore wonder if this is possibly a mixed priory.

"I believe there are such things - but they're very rare.

"We're pretty sure they relate to the priory which we know existed in the centre of Marlborough about 700 years ago.

"This must be a small cemetery relating to this priory. We just don't know if this is a civilian cemetery or if it's the monks in the priory itself."

He said that several of the individuals found were elderly and showed obvious signs of arthritis in wrists and hands.


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11 Jul 02 | England
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