Three years ago, archaeologists at Durham University began excavating a site on campus for a proposed addition to the school’s library, but work was unexpectedly halted when the researchers uncovered remnants of two mass graves. The discovery ignited a centuries-old mystery, but now, scientists say clues point back to one of the shortest but bloodiest battles of the English Civil Wars.
The estimated 1,700 skeletons, found underground at the southern tip of Durham University’s Palace Green Library, were likely Scottish soldiers who had been taken prisoner after the Battle of Dunbar in 1650, the archaeologists said.
The prisoners were captured by Oliver Cromwell, the controversial English leader who waged a successful military campaign against the Royalists in a 17th-century civil war, toppling the monarchy and culminating in the execution of King Charles I in 1649.
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