Archaeological Excavations in Whitton, north Lincolnshire - 28th July-17th August 2002 .

In about 1954/5 a gang  of Irishmen arrived in Whitton to dig up the roads for the laying of the first mains sewerage pipes. On Chapel Lane they found a skeleton in one of their holes.  Since they were on piecework, they did not want to be delayed by the bureaucracy of investigations by the Lincolnshire Constabulary and the Scunthorpe Coroner and they continued to dig, but, as a gesture to their new friend, they plucked his skull out of the pit and placed it on a garden wall where it remained, sheltered by an overhanging  hedge for 8 or 10 years, before it disappeared.  In 1987 eleven skeletons were found in the garden of Church View House  in Whitton by its new owners, and after the police had ascertained that they were not recent murder victims, archaeologists from Scunthorpe museum excavated the burials. No further work was undertaken on the site at the time , but more recently the owners asked Dr Dawn Hadley and Dr Andrew Chamberlain of Sheffield University's Archaeology Department if they would like to try to find out more about the 'cemetery' in their garden. Excavations in 2001 uncovered more skeletons, some of which were buried in oak coffins with elaborate metal fittings. One idea of the archaeologists is that the cemetery may be associated with a monastery founded in the vicinity by St Ætheldreda, a seventh-century princess.  This monastery site is usually linked to Whitton’s neighbour, West Halton, where the church is dedicated to 'St. Etheldreda',
In late July 2002 about a dozen graduates and post-graduates from the University of Sheffield were in Whitton in search of the location of the Anglo-Saxon monastery. As well as at Church View House, pits were dug at Cliff House and near the White House.

Most of the following photos were taken by Mary Leinart M.A., and they appear on this page with her permission.....

Dr Dawn Hadley and a colleague record trench 10 in the garden of Church View House.

Skeletons found in trench 10: female (L), male (R), female (in section)


c.16th century cobbled floor discovered in the Whitton church field.
( Photos left and right by Fran Ross )


A skeleton from trench 9. The arms are folded across the chest.

Working to uncover a skeleton in trench 9.


Disarticulated bones in trench 9.

An articulated foot in trench 9.


The discovery of a (probably) male skull (L) and the fully exposed skeleton (R).


In Nigel Spilman's hayfield - archaeologist Mary Leinart augering while Dr Andrew Chamberlain looks on. .

Bones, including parts of a skull and some arthritic hips, mainly collected from trench 11.

Sheffield University Archaeology Dept

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