June 5, 2012 § Leave a Comment
November 22, 2011 § Leave a Comment
The Winchester Pilgrim
Recent archaeological work at the medieval hospital of St Mary Magdalen, Winchester, conducted by the Department of Archaeology have revealed an interesting connection between the City and the important pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Excavations revealed the burial of a mature male buried just outside of the medieval chapel within a carefully designed anthropomorphic grave with head niche. The individual exhibited no sign of disease but was accompanied by a single artefact: a scallop shell; the traditional symbol of a pilgrimage to the shrine of St James at Santiago de Compostela, Spain. The shell, which had two small inserts drilled into it, was probably fitted onto the pilgrim’s bag or scrip. This evidence suggests that the pilgrim had likely once completed the arduous journey, one of the three ‘great’ medieval pilgrimages, and had taken his precious token with him into the grave. The pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela was certainly well established by the early Middle Ages. In 1114 there was a church in Winchester dedicated to St James the Apostle, and the New Minster (built c. 901) reportedly had a relic of the apostle.
October 13, 2011 § Leave a Comment
September 15, 2011 § Leave a Comment
It is now becoming clear that the medieval chapel overlies an early cemetery. This photo shows the outline of a burial underlying the now removed chapel north wall. A series of beam slots, trenches and post holes are also being excavated, many of which underlie the medieval buildings. Some of these features, which are suggestive of timber buildings, contain sherds of pottery which suggest a very early Norman or pre-Norman phase.