GUARD Archaeology Limited logo

'We believe in providing archaeological services that are dedicated, ethical and progressive in outlook, whilst remaining professional, efficient and highly competitive in delivery.'

Nineteenth century anatomical skeletons discovered in Edinburgh back garden

Archaeological field assessment of human bones findspot at Grove Street Garden

In September 2012 the partial and disarticulated remains of at least five individuals were unexpectedly discovered by workmen in the rear garden of a house in Grove Street, Edinburgh. GUARD Archaeology were commissioned under Historic Scotland's Human Remains Call-Off Contract to undertake archaeological investigation of the rear garden followed by the post-excavation analysis of the human bone, which is now drawing to a close. While no obvious structural remains were located within the garden, the post-excavation analysis, undertaken by GUARD Osteoarchaeologist, Maureen Kilpatrick, who also led the excavation, has revealed evidence of the bone having been used in anatomical display. This is demonstrated by the presence of small holes used to re-articulate the skeletons with wire. Radiocarbon dates were subsequently obtained from two right mandibles and provided a date of death of the late-eighteenth/early-nineteenth century. Following historical research of the house owners and residents Maureen has concluded that the remains were most likely part of an anatomical teaching collection that had been deliberately buried at the site probably in the early-mid nineteenth century.

The results will be published in ARO later this year.