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Excavation of medieval graves at St Thomas' Kirk, Hall of Rendall, Orkney

By Ronan Toolis


In early 2005 a particularly severe storm exposed human bones on the foreshore\ud immediately east of the ruins of St Thomas’ Kirk. The subsequent excavation recovered\ud 14 individual inhumations. The skeletons exhibited a relatively high number of\ud pathological conditions and evidence of a diet that included fish, meat and dairy\ud products. Isotopic analysis confirms that one of the individuals was from either the Outer\ud Hebrides or Northern Shetland while the rest originated from Orkney. The graves were\ud arranged in distinct grave plots on a north/south aligned row, clustered particularly\ud close to the east side of St Thomas’ Kirk. Imported medieval pottery, of a type unknown\ud in Orkney or indeed Scotland, was recovered from the graves

Publisher: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
Year: 2008
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