Archaeologists freaked by ‘disturbing’ burial pit in lost UK medieval village

A burial pit in a lost medieval village has been found – and archaeologists are “disturbed” by the discovery.

Located in the deserted area known as Wharram Percy in North Yorkshire, it was first found in the 1960s, but a new Smithsonian Channel documentary called Mystic Britain has shed new light on the area.

According to the show, the area once had 40 homes, two mills, a village green, a church and two huge manor houses.

But the only thing left standing now is the outer shell of the church . . . and a mysterious burial pit.

Dr Stuart Wrathmell said, of the site which had life in it until around 1520s: “There are some rather darker finds – a disturbing discovery.

“There is one find that we made which was a pit just here, which contained over 100 human bones."

“It's a bit strange because most people in the village, you would think, would be buried down in the churchyard.

“It was thought at the time when this pit was found in 1963 that it must be before the medieval period because we knew Romans were living nearby, so it could be prehistoric or Roman bones.

“Some of them were radiocarbon dated and found to be medieval when everyone should have been buried in the churchyard, and not out here in the farmstead.”

The site is now under the control of Historic England and has been turned into somewhat of a tourist attraction as the Yorkshire Worlds Way National Trail runs through the site.

A 2004 report into the area showed that around 15% of the bodies found in the area were children, and that the infant mortality rates at the time were around 40%.

The report states: “A Wharram Percy 14-year-old child, for example, was only about the same height as a modern 10-year-old, and comparison with 19th-century figures shows that the medieval children were no taller than factory children in the Industrial Revolution.

“This suggests that childhood health and nutrition were no better than that of 19th century slum-dwellers.”

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