A CITY car park has been hailed a “real treasure trove of archaeology” after seven more skeletons were unearthed from the grave of a medieval knight.
Archaeologists working on the site now believe they have uncovered the remains of a family crypt having found bones from three fully grown adults, four infants and a skull.
The exciting discovery comes one month after experts excavated the burial site of a medieval knight – affectionately christened Sir Eck – within the grounds of the new Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation (ECCI) at High School Yards, off Infirmary Street.
Carvings of the Calvary Cross on an elaborate sandstone tomb and an ornate sword found beside the remains led archaeologists to believe it was the burial plot of a high-status individual such as a knight or nobleman.
Archaeologist Ross Murray, of city-based Headland Archaeology, who first uncovered the grave, said: “This site just keeps on getting more and more interesting – it is turning out to be a real treasure trove of archaeology. We just can’t seem to stop finding skeletons and bones. These new finds look likely to be the possible relations of the suspected medieval knight we found earlier this year.
“The skull of the skeleton found immediately beneath the location of the knight looks like that of a female and the remains found on the other side of the ornate slab belong to an infant from the same period.”
The fruitful dig centres on the site of three historic former buildings: Old High School founded in the 1700s, the 16th-century Royal High School and Blackfriars Monastery, established in 1230 by Alexander II and destroyed during the Reformation.
It has been described as one of Edinburgh’s most significant recent archaeological finds. Once complete in the summer, the ECCI will open as an innovation and skills hub for the University of Edinburgh.
The car park has been demolished to make way for a rainwater-harvesting tank, – one of a host of low-carbon measures designers hope will help create a sustainable construction – which is expected to achieve a green building rating of “outstanding”.
In February, a skeleton found beneath a Leicester car park was confirmed as that of English king Richard III.