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Skeletons found by accident could have been criminals or soldiers

Twelve skeletons dating back to the time of Richard III have been found by accident by Northern Powergrid and their contractor Interserve.

The find, which dates back to the time of Richard III, is the first of its type to be found in the city Credit: Northern Powergrid

The first bones were discovered in November 2013 by Northern Powergrid and its contractor, Interserve, on Tadcaster Road, known locally as the Knavesmire.

A team of archaeologists remained present on site at all times and were called on to examine the find and start the process of carefully uncovering the skeletons. After initial excavations the team realised that this discovery was something very unusual.

Meticulous excavation in two trenches revealed 12 skeletons.

Unlike 15th century Christian burial practice, the skeletons were all together and weren’t facing East-West.

The Knavesmire was the site of York’s Tyburn, where convicted criminals were executed right up until 1802. Were these individuals criminals or could they have been Lancastrian soldiers?

They may have been captured in battle and brought to York for execution, possibly in the aftermath of the Battle of Towton during the Wars of the Roses, and their remains hastily buried near the gallows

– Ruth Whyte, Osteo-archaologist for York Archaeological Trust

Analysis and radiocarbon dating of two of the skeletons found that they could be dated to around the 1460s.

The skeletons were identified as male and mostly aged between 25 and 40 at the time of their death. Two had significant bone fractures which could be evidence of fighting, perhaps associated with professional soldiers.

The skeletons have been handed over to York Archaeological Trust to protect and preserve. Arrangements are also underway to exhibit one of the skeletons as part of the city’s Richard III Experience at Monk Bar in March.

Sally Simpson reports:

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Stoat 'dances' on ice

It may be its first ice encounter.. it may just be practicing its summersaults.

Whatever is going on this stoat at the Washington Wetland Centre is certainly having a good time.

The north east centre has been filming the antics of their residents as the cold weather freezes over the water.

And they have offered this top tip:

If you put a floating ball into your pond or bird bath as with wind moves the ball it prevents total freeze over.

Birds, need drinking water but also need water to keep their feathers in condition. Smashing the ice could harm aquatic life.

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Star Wars figures expected to sell for up to £100,000

A Star Wars collection is set to sell for a world record breaking amount in Thornaby later today, Wednesday 28 January.

The sale collection includes the figure of Boba Fett, a bounty hunter hired for Darth Vader in the blockbuster movies, which is thought to be only one of four in the country.

Vectis Auctions, in Thornaby-on-Tees, are auctioning the collection, which is expected to fetch up to £100,000.

The collection will be held over two sales with the initial one held today and the second in February.

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