the human remains. Their findings were illuminating.
Both bodies seem to have been accorded a traditional Christian burial, wrapped in tightly wound shrouds (something suggested by the fact that their skeletons had moved very little during decomposition) and laid to rest in graves dug on an east–west alignment. But what can we say of the people themselves?
Careful examination of the first skeleton revealed it to be that of a man who had been in his late 40s when he died in c.1425-1470, and who had stood around 5ft 7 inches tall in life. The act of standing may not have been easy for him, however, as his remains testify to serious leg injuries. The unfortunate individual had suffered bad breaks to the lower bones of both legs in what appear to have been separate accidents, causing injuries that developed further complications.
ft A volunteer records the male skeleton. Bot h of his legs were broken, and the fracture on his left leg never healed properly (below).
igns of suffering Archaeological investigation at the castle began in earnest between 1986 and 1987, headed by Robina McNeil, who sought to shed light on Norman activity at the site. Sadly, this particular period eluded Robina, although she did manage to gather extensive information on the later medieval settlement. Yet this project explored just 5 per cent of the castle interior, and since then investigations have been similarly limited, with only fleeting excavation carried out, usually in response to works rather than with a proactive research agenda.
Clearly further investigation was needed – something that the most recent project aimed to ameliorate, and its results have proven promising for future research. Although, like Robina’s excavations, the 2015 dig failed to shed much light on the earliest phases of the castle, the discovery of the two skeletons opens a new line of enquiry. While the graves themselves may initially appear unassuming, very few skeletons are known nationally in similar contexts. This scarcity meant they warranted a closer look, and so samples were taken and sent for radiocarbon dating and isotope analyses. Carla Burrell and Eleanor Dove, two PhD candidates from Liverpool John Moores University, also examined