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 Annette Carson weighs in on the Bones Stored in the Urn

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khafara

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PostSubject: Annette Carson weighs in on the Bones Stored in the Urn   Sat Mar 29, 2014 6:55 pm

Essentially, those bones were found far too down to belong to anyone in the fifteenth century: http://www.ajcarson.co.uk/357052362
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PostSubject: Re: Annette Carson weighs in on the Bones Stored in the Urn   Mon Apr 07, 2014 7:00 pm

I actually think nobody knew what happened to the princes. They disappeared during the summer when everyone was off campaigning. It is worthy of a game of "Clue". I suspect Buckingham and because Richard didn't know that Buckingham had killed the princes, he executed Buckingham thereby silencing the only person that knew.
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PostSubject: Re: Annette Carson weighs in on the Bones Stored in the Urn   Fri Apr 11, 2014 4:09 pm

Henry certainly acted as if he didn't know what had happened to them.

Is everyone aware that a Roman graveyard was recently found under The Minories, a few hundred yards from the Tower and at roughly the same depth as the mystery skeletons?

The only thing about them which suggests that they might have been Mediaeval is the claim that they were wearing velvet, which is a comparatively recent invention: but if any cloth found with them was as decayed and crumbly as the descriptions claim I really doubt if they would be able to tell velvet from felt or moleskin.
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PostSubject: Re: Annette Carson weighs in on the Bones Stored in the Urn   Sat Apr 12, 2014 12:34 pm

whitehound wrote:


Is everyone aware that a Roman graveyard was recently found under The Minories, a few hundred yards from the Tower and at roughly the same depth as the mystery skeletons?


I haven't heard about that.  Can you tell us more?

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PostSubject: Re: Annette Carson weighs in on the Bones Stored in the Urn   Sat Apr 12, 2014 2:48 pm

I can't find the original link, but here's two more.  A Roman eagle believed to have come from an elaborate tomb was found at 24-26 Minories (that seems to be halfway along the street) last autumn, decribed here http://www.museumoflondonarchaeology.org.uk/NewsProjects/Current-News/RomanSculptureDiscovered.htm

And here's an article on the archaeology in that area http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=120158 which describes various Roman cemetary finds in the Goodman's Fields area (a third of the way down the page).  The main area of finds is centred about 600 yards from the White Tower but there's a suggestion the cemetary might have extend across Goodman's Fields down to the river, which would place the Tower at the south-west corner of the cemetary.  

It actually says "With the exception of a stretch of rather less than half-a-mile immediately W. of Moorfields, the Roman town-wall is almost continuously surrounded by Roman cemeteries from the Tower northwards and westwards to Ludgate." Which is a bit odd because the streets it names as bounbding Goodman's fields are slightly *east* of the Tower, but either way it seems to be established that the cemetary could have and probably did extend as far as where the mystery bones were found.

The Roman bodies seem to be partially cremated, which would explain why the skeletons were so incomplete.  The Minories burials are 7-8ft down and the bones at the Tower supposedly 10ft deep, but if memory serves the Tower is on slightly higher ground (ground which may well have *become* higher because it's been built and rebuilt on for so long), so 10ft down from the level the Tower stands on is going to be about the same level as 8ft down from The Minories.

Apart from the probably-imaginary velvet, the only anomaly is that the Roman burials seem mostly to have been in posh urns and the mystery bones were in a wooden box iirc.  But if they were buried down by the river, 600 yards from the fancy eagle, they may have been paupers.
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PostSubject: Re: Annette Carson weighs in on the Bones Stored in the Urn   Sun Apr 13, 2014 1:06 am

I've just noticed that the list of Roman cemetaries in East London on British History Online, the second article I linked to above, is from a book published in *1928*. For all that time anybody who was interested could fairly easily find out that the Tower stood on the edge of a Roman cemetary - yet the traditionalists just blindly assumed that the mystery bodies must be Richard's nephews.

I'm not sure if this is down to prejudice or to the fact that the urban archaeology of London has its own separate museum which both showcases and encapsulates it, which may mean that researchers from other areas tend to miss seeing this research.
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PostSubject: Re: Annette Carson weighs in on the Bones Stored in the Urn   Sun Apr 13, 2014 7:00 am

I was just reading a Daily Mail article about the bones and it struck me that there seems to be a real push back from both the Westminster authorities and the Queen on having the bones tested. It makes me wonder if there is more to this than meets the eye. What if there is a genuine fear by the current Royal Family that the DNA testing of the bones will prove that Edward IV was not the son of Richard, Duke of York and therefore, not entitled to the throne?
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PostSubject: Re: Annette Carson weighs in on the Bones Stored in the Urn   Sun Apr 13, 2014 7:24 am

Could be, but I think it's more likely that the Queen just hasn't been told that the skeletons almost certainly aren't members of her family. Plus there's the issue of what to do with them if it's proved they couldn't be the missing princes. But they wouldn't have to be removed - they could be re-labelled as representatives of all the dead of pre-Conquest London, like the Unknown Soldier but for civilians.

There's a belief that they must be the missing York boys because the York boys were closely related to Anne Mowbray, and one of the skeletons shares two skeletal abnormalities with Anne Mowbray, one of the thumb and one of the teeth. But a genealogical expert on the Mowbray family said that the Mowbray Thumb is known to have descended through a line from which the York boys were *not* descended, so the thumb is a red herring, and the dental abnormality, although rare in Mediaeval London, was present in about a third of the population of Roman London.
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PostSubject: Re: Annette Carson weighs in on the Bones Stored in the Urn   Sun Apr 13, 2014 8:03 am

I really doubt it. I think there would have been more left of the bodies if they had only been there two hundred years. After all, little Anne Mowbray still had her hair attached when she was found.
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PostSubject: Re: Annette Carson weighs in on the Bones Stored in the Urn   Sun Apr 13, 2014 11:06 am

Yes, quite. They were very incomplete.

I've been thinking about the More version of the boys' fate, and it doesn't make sense however you slice it.

The idea that the bodies could have been buried 10ft deep in one night is clearly ridiculous but, OK, More didn't actually claim that. He claimed that the bodies were concealed under a pile of builders' rubble and then removed later, which is far more feasible. But what would the motive be? If somebody concealed the bodies like that, it could only be temporary - the rubble would surely be removed soon. So it's not a long-term hiding place.

If somebody had killed them on Richard's orders, surely they would either not have hidden them at all, passng the deathjs off as due to fever as Tey suggested, or they would have wanted to be sure they would *never* be found - and the river was close by. Somebody removing them on Richard's orders would surely have loaded them into a boat, taken them a long way downstream and then weighted them and tipped them into the water.

The only person who would want to hide them under a pile of rubble, in a position where they would be found as soon as they started to smell (and this was meant to be high summer) if not before, could only be someone who had killed them without authorisation, didn't care who knew they were dead and only wanted to conceal the bodies for a few days while they made a getaway.

I could imagine a scenario in which an agent of Buckingham or Beaufort, or even a burglar, killed them on the sly and buried them in a shallow grave while he or she fled the scene, and then Richard found out about it a few days later, located the bodies and had them reburied but couldn't say anything public about it because he knew everyone would blame him. But the idea of them being buried in such a temporary way makes no sense if they were killed by official agents acting on Richard's orders, with the river so near at hand - if arrangements had been made for them to get at the boys, why wouldn't proper arrangements have been made for them to remove the bodies afterwards?
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Constantia

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PostSubject: Re: Annette Carson weighs in on the Bones Stored in the Urn   Sun Apr 13, 2014 11:34 am

The whole story in More is absurd from beginning to end, starting with the "secret page" (if he was so secret, how did More know about him?) informing Richard, who was sitting on the privy(!), that an unknown knight named Sir James Tyrell was lying outside his door(!) looking for work. (Even Vergil knew that Sir James was a well-known knight already in Richard's service, and More, who read Vergil's work before it was published, must have known it, too.) The only reason that anyone still believes More's story is that Charles II, informed that the bones were (apparently) those of a pair of children and were found under some stairs (actually, under the foundations of those stairs), leaped to the conclusion that they must be those of the "Princes" because More's "History" mentioned stairs (the location at the foot of the stairs, the pile of stones, and the removal and reburial in hallowed ground all being ignored). More's absurd story, which even he indicated was not the only version of the tale in circulation (he did not, of course, admit to elaborating on the story with fictitious details and dialogue or inventing Sir James's confession), was by then official doctrine. So a coincidence (children and stairs) becomes "proof" not only of the identity of the bones but of Richard's (and Tyrell's) already "known" guilt, "confirmed" by scientists who took More's tale as history and skewed the evidence to fit a previously determined conclusion. It's amazing what people, even scientific investigators, will believe if they refuse to question a particular writer's authority or the truth of a particular theory.
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PostSubject: Re: Annette Carson weighs in on the Bones Stored in the Urn   Sun Apr 13, 2014 1:40 pm

Yes, and how does More know? To be part of a faction that was out of the country when the deed was committed, they certainly know more about it than those who were supposedly involved.
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PostSubject: Re: Annette Carson weighs in on the Bones Stored in the Urn   Sun Apr 13, 2014 2:52 pm

There are so many holes in More's story, and most of them big enough for a truck to drive through, that it is amazing to me how many people still accept it as fact.
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PostSubject: Re: Annette Carson weighs in on the Bones Stored in the Urn   Mon Apr 14, 2014 10:07 am

ElizabethP wrote:
Yes, and how does More know?  To be part of a faction that was out of the country when the deed was committed, they certainly know more about it than those who were supposedly involved.

More was in the country but just five years old when the "murders" supposedly occurred. Polydore Vergil, who gives a different version but still involves Tyrell, was out of the country and about fifteen at the time.
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PostSubject: Re: Annette Carson weighs in on the Bones Stored in the Urn   Tue Apr 15, 2014 2:02 pm

whitehound wrote:
I can't find the original link, but here's two more.    (Snip)  

Thanks, whitehound.  I need to think about these for awhile.  My first reaction is that there is great variety in the shape of the funeral urns, but no wooden boxes.  Is that because wooden boxes would have decayed between the Roman burials and the recovery of these funeral urns?

How long is a wooden box buried 10 feet deep likely to last in London earth?

10 feet deep suggests that the bones found in 1674, assumed to be the remains of Edward IV's sons,  might be Roman or pre-Roman, if a wooden box could last over 1,600 years in those soil conditions.

If wooden boxes can't last that long, we need to know the rate of decay in order to figure out when the box might have been buried and who might have buried it.

It might also help to know how deep Boudicca’s Destruction Horizon is in London.  

Boudicca's Destruction Horizon

Since I read about it, I've felt a comparison with the 10 foot depth of the wooden box might show that the box was Roman or pre-Roman.  But nothing I've found on the Internet gives the depth of Boudicca's Destruction Horizon.  Very disappointing.

Does anyone know how deep Boudicca's Destruction Horizon is?  Can you please share the source?

TIA

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PostSubject: Re: Annette Carson weighs in on the Bones Stored in the Urn   Tue Apr 15, 2014 7:23 pm

I found this on Google Book's, relating to the destruction horizon layer, from a book called Boudica by Vanessa Collingridge:

http://books.google.com/books?id=SM3mPt3_3qAC&lpg=PT228&ots=RqHnRm-cQ-&dq=Boudicca's%20destruction%20horizon%20layer%20depth&pg=PT228#v=onepage&q&f=false
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PostSubject: Re: Annette Carson weighs in on the Bones Stored in the Urn   Wed Apr 16, 2014 4:39 pm

Quote :
10 feet deep suggests that the bones found in 1674, assumed to be the remains of Edward IV's sons,  might be Roman or pre-Roman, if a wooden box could last over 1,600 years in those soil conditions.

Assuming, of course, that the wooden box actually existed, or was something more than sodden fragments.

At this point, all we know for certain is that there are bones and they're in an urn.

Tamara
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PostSubject: Re: Annette Carson weighs in on the Bones Stored in the Urn   Wed Apr 16, 2014 4:43 pm

Does anybody know if the Roman urn burials were above or below ground *at the time*? If the urns were interred, then they would probably have sliced through the destruction horizon, which would then be above them. If they were above ground, at the time, then the horizon is probably below them, since the cemetary was very large and therefore probably in use for a loing time.

London is, famously, built on clay. At least some wood from the Roman period has survived because there was an excavation recently of the remains of a Roman bath-house, and there was a kind of wood-lined cistern and pumphouse part of which was still relatively intact. So a wooden box could survive that long in the London clay if it was made of a good-quality, durable wood.
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PostSubject: Re: Annette Carson weighs in on the Bones Stored in the Urn   Wed Apr 16, 2014 5:00 pm

Here we are: http://cat.essex.ac.uk/reports/CAT-report-0012.pdf  In Colchester the Boudican destruction layer is one to two metres below the surface.  Other references suggest it's usually about 25cm thick.

On the other hand this book refers top coins of the Claudius period being found in London 17ft down.


Last edited by whitehound on Thu Apr 17, 2014 3:13 am; edited 1 time in total
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khafara

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PostSubject: Re: Annette Carson weighs in on the Bones Stored in the Urn   Wed Apr 16, 2014 7:51 pm

whitehound wrote:
London is, famously, built on clay.  At least some wood from the Roman period has survived because there was an excavation recently of the remains of a Roman bath-house, and there was a kind of wood-lined cistern and pumphouse part of which was still relatively intact.  So a wooden box could survive that long in the London clay if it was made of a good-quality, durable wood.

Okay, that makes sense. And with the box having been found over three hundred years before the present, it had less time to be in the ground before it was found. It might also help explain why the box went missing soon after it and its contents were found; it may well have disintegrated if it was allowed to dry out too much.

I also can't help but think that if it really was a Roman-era box, the people wanting to promote its contents as the bones of Edward's sons by Mistress Grey may well have decided that the box may have looked too obviously Roman to an educated eye, and would have undermined the tale they wanted told - so the box wound up getting "lost", aka being chopped to bits and burned once it was dry enough to burn nicely.
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PostSubject: Re: Annette Carson weighs in on the Bones Stored in the Urn   Wed Apr 16, 2014 8:14 pm

Good point - once it had dried out it would fall apart, and then they might well dispose of it.
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PostSubject: Re: Annette Carson weighs in on the Bones Stored in the Urn   Wed Apr 16, 2014 11:10 pm

phaecilia wrote:
 My first reaction is that there is great variety in the shape of the funeral urns, but no wooden boxes.  Is that because wooden boxes would have decayed between the Roman burials and the recovery of these funeral urns?

How long is a wooden box buried 10 feet deep likely to last in London earth?

10 feet deep suggests that the bones found in 1674, assumed to be the remains of Edward IV's sons,  might be Roman or pre-Roman, if a wooden box could last over 1,600 years in those soil conditions.

If wooden boxes can't last that long, we need to know the rate of decay in order to figure out when the box might have been buried and who might have buried it.

Are we certain that there was a wooden box, or is it, like the supposed scrap of velvet, a red herring? All I recall being mentioned is some human bones mixed with animal bones (the result of the possibly incomplete skeletons having been thrown onto a rubbish heap before someone leaped to the conclusions that they were "the Princes in the Tower"). Given the depth at which the bones were found (which certainly suggests that they were pre-Roman in my view), the bits of wood, if any, must have come from the rubbish heap.
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PostSubject: Re: Annette Carson weighs in on the Bones Stored in the Urn   Thu Apr 17, 2014 3:25 am

I don't see why they would need to be *pre* Roman - given that the Tower stands on ground at least a couple of feet higher than The Minories (it does, I found a scale model which shows this) they were at the same depth as the Roman tomb-ornament eagle which was found last year. 10ft fown from the level the Tower stands at takes you down to the same plane as 7-8ft down from the Minories. Also one of them has a dental abnormality which was very common in Roman London.

Rmemebr that as burials they would be below the usual level of Roman archaeological finds, because somebody standing at the Roman level dug a deep hole and put them at the bottom.

Wood can last a long time if it's wet. The "Seahenge" wooden ceremonial circle which was unconvered on the Norfolk coast in 1999 is over 4,000 years old, but quite a lot of it has survived.
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PostSubject: Re: Annette Carson weighs in on the Bones Stored in the Urn   Fri Apr 18, 2014 12:07 pm

MAHibbard wrote:
I found this on Google Book's, relating to the destruction horizon layer, from a book called Boudica by Vanessa Collingridge:

http://books.google.com/books?id=SM3mPt3_3qAC&lpg=PT228&ots=RqHnRm-cQ-&dq=Boudicca's%20destruction%20horizon%20layer%20depth&pg=PT228#v=onepage&q&f=false

This is helpful, but I'm still not sure how far down from the surface the Boudiccan Destruction Horizon would have been in 1674, when Charles II's workmen uncovered the bones (in a wooden box?)  or how far from the surface it is in 2014.

I'm comparing Dr. John Knight standing on the surface, looking 10 feet down in 1674 to myself standing on the 2014 surface looking down as if the hole were still there.  Roughly 340 years worth of soil accumulation since 1674 has raised the surface X feet.  If I  understand this correctly, I'd be standing X + 10 feet above the level where the bones (in a wooden box?) were found.  Somewhere between the level of the box (10 feet down)  and the levels where Dr. Knight and I are standing (1674 and 2014 surfaces), should be the "uniform level in the soil that corresponds with the period around AD 60/61."  

It's the distance between that "uniform level in the soil that corresponds with the period around AD 60/61" and the 10 foot deep bones (in a wooden box ?) that might prove the bones now attributed to Edward IV's sons are actually Roman or pre-Roman.

At least, that's how it seems to me.

Does this make any sense?  Can anyone help me make it clearer?

phaecilia
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PostSubject: Re: Annette Carson weighs in on the Bones Stored in the Urn   Fri Apr 18, 2014 12:19 pm

You're thinking that the soil around the Tower will have built up since 1674, so something which was 10ft belong the ground-level of the Tower in 1674 will be maybe 12ft or 13ft below the current level, and so *lower* than the Roman cemetary which is 7-8ft below the current level of The Minories, and so around 10ft below the current level of the Tower.

I'm not sure if the Tower will have built up much since 1674, though. The buildings there are older than that (so no build-up of builders' rubble) and it's a carefully maintained area, so soil being blown or washed or walked in and covering the lawns would probably be brushed away.

The people to ask would probably be The Museum of London - I may write to them and ask.
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