I’d Jump Her Bones: Remains of Queen Eadgyth Discovered

British archeologists believe, much to their surprise, that they have discovered the coffin and skeleton of Queen Eadgyth. Grandaugther of Alfred the Great, and the sister of King Athelstan, she died in 946. If the remains are verified as Eadgyth, they will be the oldest remains of British royalty ever found.

Historians generally consider King Athelstan to be the first King of England (suck on it, Arthur) after the battle of Brunanburgh in 937, in which he conquered (or “unified”) the various Saxon and Celtic kingdoms that had existed independently before his rule.

As his sister, Eadgyth was a royal pawn, good for making alliances through marriage, and of course breeding. When she was 19, Athelstan sent her and her half-sister Algiva or Adiva (no one could really spell their own names until the late 1700s, I’m sure of it) to Germany, telling the then Duke of Saxony to pick the one he liked best. Eadgyth was said to the prettiest and the Duke married her in 929 A.D.

When she died, her remains didn’t stay put. The fond European tradition of moving dead people around so they could be viewed and worshiped means that historians lost track of Eadgyth in 1510 when a fancy cenotaph was erected in Magdeburg Cathedral in eastern Germany. People thought that it was just a marker, not the actual location of her bones, so when archaeologists researching the cathedral opened the vault they were shocked to find a lead coffin marked with Queen Eadgyth’s name and the 1510 date.

Inside they found a skeleton wrapped in silk. The bones belong to a woman between the ages of 30 and 40 (Eadgyth died at the ripe old age of 36). That’s not final confirmation that the bones belong to Queen Eadgyth, of course. We’ll have to wait for the results of chemical analysis to know for sure.

You can check out the full story from the Telegraph here.

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~ by K. Ritcheson on January 28, 2010.

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