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Could a Cornish meadow be the site of a mass grave from a shipwreck 300 years ag

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Jennifer Murdoch
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« on: December 08, 2014, 06:15:09 pm »

Could a Cornish meadow be the site of a mass grave from a shipwreck 300 years ago?
By Ben Miller | 20 November 2014


Archaeologists ponder digging Cornish meadow after investigations show more than 200 bodies from shipwreck could lie there



A Cornish valley with a waterfall stream cascading onto a beach could be the site of a 300-year-old mass graveŠ Courtesy National Trust
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Jennifer Murdoch
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« Reply #1 on: December 08, 2014, 06:15:39 pm »

Archaeologists searching for a mass grave containing the bodies of 200 victims from a shipwreck nearly 300 years ago believe a meadow on the Lizard coastline of Cornwall could be the burial site.

The Stag Rocks, where the residents of the Royal Anne met their demise, have been at the centre of conjecture since 1969. An oared frigate launched from Woolwich in 1709, the ship struck the coast while returning to port following bad weather in Barbados in 1721.

An image of an illustration of an ancient ship
The Royal Anne would have looked similar to this ship© Courtesy English Heritage
A comprehensive English Heritage report in 2006 preceded a visit from experts in November 2012, when electromagnetic techniques revealed three places on the idyllic Pistow Meadow where the washed-up corpses could be buried.

“Local lore has it that the Lizard folk who went to bury the bodies could not complete this mammoth, grisly task within the day,” says Rachel Holder, the Area Ranger on The Lizard for the National Trust.

“But when they returned next dawn, a pack of dogs had got there first and were tucking into a gruesome breakfast.

“Even to this day it is said that dogs cower when passing through the meadow, perhaps in shame at the actions of their ancestors.

“The story of Pistil Meadow fired the imaginations of later generations, with the likes of [writer] Daphne du Maurier taking an interest in the tale.

“Anyone who walks the Lizard coastline regularly will be familiar with Pistil, a little valley a quarter of a mile west of the Most Southerly Point. Thanks to a small copse of tamarisk, it offers a little shelter along this otherwise wind battered stretch of coast.

“The Royal Anne was a military transport vessel taking the Governor of Barbados to his posting. She ran aground, as have many boats both before and since, on the treacherous rocks off Lizard Point during a November storm, with a terrible loss of life.”

The governor, Lord Belhaven, was one of 207 people aboard the galley to die, with only three survivors. This year’s unusually dry September gave archaeologists a chance to try new techniques on the dry stream bed and the waterfall from which the meadow takes its name.

“The vegetation has been cleared and this time the team have had success using earth resistivity area 3D imaging, ground penetrating radar and slingram electromagnetic techniques,” says Holder.

“We’re eagerly awaiting the results of this latest work. If these techniques agree with the 2012 results, we will have an interesting question to ponder.

“Do we give permission for the archaeologists to dig a test pit to see if their data has led us to a conclusion, or do we allow this 300-year-old mystery to remain just that?”

The wreck of the ship, which had an original armament of 40 guns, is owned by the Ministry of Defence. One of only six galleys of her kind classified by the Royal Navy at the start of the 18th century, the Royal Anne was described as "a new invention under the direction of the Marquis of Carmarthen...being the finest that was ever built."

    Visit lizardandpenrose.blogspot.co.uk for more.
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Jennifer Murdoch
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« Reply #2 on: December 08, 2014, 06:16:54 pm »



The Royal Anne would have looked similar to this ship
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