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This Skeleton Couple Has Been Holding Hands for 700 Years

The couple’s remains are just one of the discoveries recently made in the “lost chapel” of St. Morrell

Till death do us part: This couple has been holding hands for 700 years. (Photo: University of Leicester Archaeological Services )
smithsonian.com

A couple living in Medieval England have spent hundreds of years lying side by side in a burial ground, and, as their recently uncovered remains show, all the while they've been "holding hands"—they were found with their arms crossed one over the other.

Researchers from the University of Leicester made the discovery while excavating the "lost" Chapel at St. Marrell, located in Leicestershire and seemingly used from the 12th to 16th centuries. The ancient chapel likely served as a pilgrimage destination in the 14th century, the team reports. But the presence of the skeletons there is puzzling. There is a church located nearby, whose cemetery would be the more obvious choice for disposing of remains. "This leads us to wonder if the chapel could have served as some sort of special place of burial at the time,” the researchers said in a statement.  

It could be, however, that burial in the chapel was punishment for something, that the couple were foreigners or that they had contracted some sort of sickness that warranted separation from the population. Several other skeletons were found buried there as well, including some Roman remains. The reason these particular people wound up at the chapel, however, is most likely lost to time. 

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