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Radar Pinpoints Tomb Of King Edward The Confessor
The Telegraph (UK) ^ | 12-2-2005 | Jonathan Petre

Posted on 12/01/2005 6:10:40 PM PST by blam

Radar pinpoints tomb of King Edward the Confessor

By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent
(Filed: 02/12/2005)

The ancient tomb of Edward the Confessor, one of the most revered of British saints, has been discovered under Westminster Abbey 1,000 years after his birth.

The original burial chamber of the Anglo-Saxon king, who died in 1066, months before the invasion of William the Conqueror, was revealed by archaeologists using the latest radar technology.

The existence of a number of royal tombs dating back to the 13th and 14th century was also discovered beneath the abbey, the venue for nearly all coronations since 1066.

The forgotten, sub-terranean chambers were located during conservation work on the abbey's medieval Cosmati mosaic pavement around the high altar.

Dr Warwick Rodwell, the abbey's consultant archaeologist, said the find was "extraordinarily exciting".

Until now archaeologists had assumed that the original tomb of Edward the Confessor was near the present high altar, because medieval records referred to him being buried there. It has now emerged, however, that the position of the altar was moved by Henry III in the mid 13th century. The archaeologists have located the original tomb 10 feet behind the present altar, under the shrine built by Henry III in 1269, which still contains the remains of the saint.

"We have never been able to locate the original tomb of Edward until now," said Dr Rodwell. "The Victorians tried to find out more about what tombs were under here, but they simply did not have the technology to do it. The mystery around the location of the crypt has been running for many years. Every day brings new insights and new facts." Dr Rodwell said an archaeological team had been examining the construction of the Cosmati pavement, which dates from 1268, using a very high-frequency radar to a depth of about 20 inches. The power of the radar was intensified to examine deeper sections of the pavement.

"Little did we expect that, by using a lower frequency radar, we would find chambers, vaults and foundations of such fascinating historical interest and dating back to the very founding of the abbey, over a millennium ago," said Dr Rodwell.

There are no plans to excavate the tomb because any such work would destroy the medieval pavement.

The discovery, made in October, has delighted the abbey as it has been marking Edward the Confessor's anniversary with a series of events.

Although not among the better known kings - his reign was relatively peaceful - his presence in British history has endured.

The principal royal crown is still called St Edward's crown, and the Coronation Chair is sometimes called St Edward's chair, even though both were made long after his death.

The son of Ethelred the Unready and Emma, the daughter of Richard I of Normandy, his family was exiled to Normandy after the Danish invasion of 1013 and he was largely educated there.

When his half brother, Hardecanute, died in 1042, he was acclaimed king. On his death he was succeeded by Harold, who was killed at the Battle of Hastings nine months later.

Edward's reputation for sanctity grew after the Norman conquest, and he was canonised by Pope Alexander III in 1161.

Edward was patron saint of England for more than four centuries, until 1415 when he was replaced by St George.

The archaeological team is now preparing further investigations to establish the purpose, history and content of the main tomb and the other chambers, graves and coffins they have found.

The Dean of Westminster, the Very Rev Wesley Carr, said: "It is another reminder of how abbey history and humanity are packed together."


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: battleofhastings; confessor; edward; edwardtheconfessor; godsgravesglyphs; haroldgodwinson; haroldii; king; kingharoldii; pinpoints; radar; tomb; westminsterabbey
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1 posted on 12/01/2005 6:10:41 PM PST by blam
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To: blam

Cool!


2 posted on 12/01/2005 6:15:12 PM PST by Tax-chick ("You don't HAVE to be a fat pervert to speak out about eating too much and lack of morals." ~ LG)
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To: blam

Now if only Charles the wuss would read his history...


3 posted on 12/01/2005 6:16:38 PM PST by 359Henrie
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To: blam

Wow, I can't wait for the movie.


4 posted on 12/01/2005 6:17:16 PM PST by Meadow Muffin
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To: blam

BTTT


5 posted on 12/01/2005 6:17:21 PM PST by Fiddlstix (Tagline Repair Service. Let us fix those broken Taglines. Inquire within(Presented by TagLines R US))
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To: SunkenCiv

GGG Ping.


6 posted on 12/01/2005 6:19:55 PM PST by blam
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To: blam
I understand the Welsh and Scots didn't think so highly of him.
He wasn't so "saintly" to them.
7 posted on 12/01/2005 6:21:03 PM PST by starfish923 (Socrates: It's never right to do wrong.)
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To: blam

The core of Westminster Abbey is awe inspiring even if you're not particularly religious, in fact the whole place is well worth a visit or two.

I wonder if they could drill a little hole and lower a camera and light like they use for surgeries ?
On the other hand, maybe it's better to not disturb the trapped air or introduce outside air.


8 posted on 12/01/2005 6:26:55 PM PST by 1066AD
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To: Tax-chick

Too cool, and perhaps even cold.


9 posted on 12/01/2005 6:29:11 PM PST by agrarianlady
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To: blam

Edward was probably responsible for the Norman invasion in October of 1066 having promised succession to William of Normandy as well as to Harold.


10 posted on 12/01/2005 6:34:13 PM PST by David (...)
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To: blam

The King is dead, Long live the King.


What a phenominal find! Magnificient!!


11 posted on 12/01/2005 6:42:54 PM PST by Danae (Anál nathrach, orth' bháis's bethad, do chél dénmha)
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To: agrarianlady

LOL!


12 posted on 12/01/2005 7:03:19 PM PST by Tax-chick ("You don't HAVE to be a fat pervert to speak out about eating too much and lack of morals." ~ LG)
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To: blam

Um... way to go, radar...

13 posted on 12/01/2005 7:05:42 PM PST by new cruelty
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To: starfish923
I understand the Welsh and Scots didn't think so highly of him.

That's Edward the First. A few centuries after Edward the Confessor.

14 posted on 12/01/2005 7:10:52 PM PST by ClearCase_guy
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To: blam

Now if they could only locate the body of Oliver Cromwell ...


15 posted on 12/01/2005 7:37:32 PM PST by IronJack
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To: blam

Good. Now what's in the basement at Rosalyn Chapel?


16 posted on 12/01/2005 7:47:33 PM PST by gcruse (http://gcruse.typepad.com)
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To: starfish923
He wasn't so "saintly" to them.

They probably liked him better than they liked William the Bastard.

17 posted on 12/01/2005 8:01:26 PM PST by Mike Darancette (Mesocons for Rice '08)
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To: IronJack
Now if they could only locate the body of Oliver Cromwell

They did bad things with the remains of regicides.

18 posted on 12/01/2005 8:07:06 PM PST by Mike Darancette (Mesocons for Rice '08)
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To: Mike Darancette

But the legends live on about the disposal of the Protector's body. The head's location is known -- at least its general locale. But no one is sure about the ... remainder.


19 posted on 12/01/2005 8:28:36 PM PST by IronJack
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To: blam
The pavement in question. I've been to Westminster Abbey twice. It looks better in person. They usually have this floor covered with a carpet to protect it and you can't walk on it.


20 posted on 12/01/2005 8:33:13 PM PST by wimpycat (Hyperbole is the opiate of the activist wacko.)
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