Recent Finds from Dunfermline Abbey Graveyard

Just to wet appetites, here are some finds from the last week.

Here we see disarticulated bone, disturbed by grave-reuse and redeposited as backfill. We can see further fragmentation of already broken bone situated beside a complete vertebra. These are fairly typical finds. It is not unusual to find small amounts of animal bone mixed with human remains.

Atlas vertebra (C1) and bone fragments
Atlas vertebra (C1) and bone fragments

Many artefacts recovered from the graveyard were most likely deliberate deposits of rubbish, either as part of the introduction of rubble from a demolished building in the 1920’s or the historic equivalent of fly-tipping by Dunfermline residents.

The find below was found in a graveyard soil context, and so predates the 1920’s rubble. It is a fragment of a circular stone object, with the centre drilled out. Given Dunfermline’s history as a centre for the spinning and weaving of high quality linen, it seems reasonable to believe that it may have been a loom weight or similar.

Possible broken, stone loom weight
Is this a broken loom weight?

Lastly comes an iron object, a rusted and broken handle. It too comes from a pre-1927 context and is interpreted as a coffin handle. Most ferrous artefacts have been nails and handles of varying sizes, often with significant accretions of soil and stone caused by rusting in the often waterlogged soil of the graveyard.

Rusted and Broken Iron Handle
Rusted and broken iron handle

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