Human Remains Found On St Mary’s Beach Are From Medieval Man
The find was made on Porthmellon the winter before last by local diver and historian Todd Stevens, who said he immediately recognised the leg bone as human.
He took it to the local police who asked him not to report the find until they had verified it wasn’t from someone who had died recently.
Carbon dating has now shown the bone probably came from a large male living sometime between 1022 to 1206.
Todd says for the bone to have remained intact for so long, it must have been buried in an anaerobic site, like sand or mud underwater.
And he thinks it might have been disturbed from its resting place by the recent building works at St Mary’s Harbour.
Todd’s looked into the archives to try to identify the man.
He says the dates given for the bone encapsulated the episcopate of Richard Bartholomew, who controlled the two southerly islands of St Mary’s and St Agnes whilst the north islands of Scilly were then under the control of Tavistock Abbey.
He thinks the naming of Bartholomew Ledge, between St Agnes and St Mary’s, may be linked to that period.
Todd says there are no firm records of wrecks around the islands from that period, but the islands were plagued with pirates during that time.
And there are reports that Richard Bartholomew’s son, also called Richard, captured a ship of 150 pirates and had them beheaded to serve as a lesson to others.
Todd says it’s likely this gruesome deed was carried out at sea and thinks the bone may be from one of the executed pirates.
He says sadly the police wouldn’t allow him to keep his find.
You can read more about Todds discovery at his blog here.