THE outline of a medieval church has been revealed on the site of a new home for the elderly.
The foundations were discovered by workmen building an extra care scheme in Leyburn, North Yorkshire.
Archaeologists were brought in and their work has led to the clear outline of a Christian church dating back to before the Norman Conquest in 1066 being revealed.
Two bodies were also found at the site. It is thought the remains were of a young man and an older woman who were both found in a crouching position.
It is believed there were early Christian burials due to the east west alignment of the bodies.
Further work using the latest carbon dating techniques is taking place to more accurately establish how long ago the burials took place.
Experts from York-based On-Site Archaeology have worked alongside the builders carefully cataloguing the discoveries.
The extra care scheme is being built by Broadacres Housing Association.
Projects officer Graham Bruce said:
“The site is probably a family chapel possibly dating back to Saxon or early Norman times, as it is a clean area with relatively little waste. There is probably a rubbish dump nearby.
The scientists’ work also unearthed two other small structures which pre-date the church.
It is possible they are bronze age and iron age dwellings.
Finds relating to these periods include animal bones, flint tools, and pottery shards.
Evidence of medieval farming was also discovered above the church foundations.
Archaeological work has now finished on the site, although the team are still examining the finds.
Mr Bruce added:
“All the items we have gathered will be offered to Broadacres, the site’s owners.
“The two bodies may be reburied somewhere on the site, as that it where they were buried originally.
“At some stage we will produce a report on the dig and our later work which will be available to the public.”
Source – Northern Echo, 09 Feb 2015