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Blast from the Past VI

Blast6/1.jpeg A Dark Age female skeleton being carefully cleaned prior to recording in 1986. The site, in the Booths, Pontefract, is the location of the original settlement mentioned in Domesday Book.

Blast6/2.jpeg. Rescue excavation of a medieval cemetery near the top of Box Lane, Pontefract. The crowded but orderly scene emphasises the hurried nature of the recording.


From the beginning of its existence, PontArc has been concerned with the past; in particular with past human lives, as studied by their structures or even their remains. It used to be widely believed that archaeologists dug for gold or skeletons; luckily we live in a more enlightened age, when most people realise that human remains are only disturbed if they are about to be destroyed. However, few even today appreciate the importance of the information obtained from human remains, both for studying past populations and for combating present- day medical conditions.

Throughout its existence the Society has been involved with the excavation and study of skeletal remains; indeed at least one of its members is an expert in their study, and another an expert in their photography.

The four hundred plus collection of medieval skeletons from St Johnís Priory is currently still being studied at Londonís Natural History Museum. This will eventually provide valuable insights into the physical condition and illnesses of our ancestors. Since those were dug, other excavations have revealed others, from the Romano-British period to the medieval.

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