Remains of up to 100 children found in dig at ancient Welsh burial site

·2-min read
Archaeologists excavating a long-lost holy site have unearthed up to a hundred young children's remains on an ancient religious burial site. (Wales News)
Archaeologists excavating a long-lost holy site have unearthed up to a hundred young children's remains on an ancient religious burial site. (Wales News)

Archaeologists excavating an ancient holy site have unearthed up to one hundred young children's remains.

Experts discovered several hundred skeletons and believe at least a third of the buried bodies belong to those of children under the age of four.

The medieval friary, dating back more than 600 years, was unearthed by builders digging foundations for a new bar.

Historians believe it is the ancient burial ground of the friary of St Saviours in Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire.

Head of Dyfed Archaeological Trust, Fran Murphy, said there were many clues to the existence of the friary in the town through financial transactions which the church kept meticulous records of throughout history.

Experts discovered several hundred skeletons and believe at least a third of the buried bodies belong to those of children under the age of four.  (Wales News)
Experts discovered several hundred skeletons and believe at least a third of the buried bodies belong to those of children under the age of four. (Wales News)

She described the find as "extraordinarily, one-third of these remains are infants under the age of four."

The Trust said they currently do not want to give an exact amount of bodies, but they "would not be surprised" if they ended up discovering 300 ancient corpses.

The friary of Dominican Order is believed to have stood in Haverfordwest for about three centuries.

The Dominicans - also known as Black Friars - had a different agenda to most monastic orders in that they went amongst the population, preaching, praying and teaching.

“We know it’s there because of a series of monastic references, mainly records about money,” said Murphy.

“At its height there were apparently eight friars who were part of the friary before it was dissolved and past into private hands.

The medieval friary - dating back more than 600 years - was unearthed by builders digging foundations for a new bar. (Wales News)
The medieval friary - dating back more than 600 years - was unearthed by builders digging foundations for a new bar. (Wales News)

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“It was dissolved in the 1530s with one of the friars scrubbing his name from the list of friars at the priory which is peculiar and might have been a protest to it closing.”

DAT Archaeological Services started work at the site, known as Ocky Whites, in February and is scheduled to be at the site until next January.

The former Ocky Whites building is currently being redeveloped into a three-storey food and drink venue.