Lost Lives, New Worlds. Unlocking the story of the 1650 Scottish soldiers buried on Palace Green in Durham


Professor Chris Gerrard, University of Durham


School 1, St Salvator’s Quadrangle

St Andrews University Archaeology Society

In November 2013 archaeologists observing building work near Durham Cathedral made an unexpected and unusual discovery when disordered tumbles of articulated skeletons were uncovered in two mass graves. Over the next two years, a complex jigsaw of evidence was pieced together by a team of researchers in order to establish the identity of the human remains. Today we know them to be some of the Scottish prisoners who died in terrible circumstances in Durham Cathedral and Castle following the Battle of Dunbar on the south-east coast of Scotland on 3rd September 1650. Using the latest techniques of archaeological science, it has been possible to reconstruct how and why these men vanished off the historical radar. This lecture follows the controversies as researchers sought to solve a 350 year old mystery.