In Pictures: More history discovered in Edinburgh as Trams to Newhaven project continues

One of the fascinating aspects of the current stage of the Trams to Newhaven project in Edinburgh is the archaeological finds which have long laid buried under the streets of the city. This is certainly the case around the South Leith Parish Church where a skeleton has recently been unearthed as the team from GUARD Archaeology continue their work (please note this article contains images of the recent findings including the skeleton).

The archaeologists are currently taking great care to find out as much as they can about what life may have been like in Leith in previous eras and the skeleton will be one of many ways they can do this – including how did they die and what was their diet like. Before the skeleton can be removed elsewhere it is a careful task to make sure that nothing is missed. It is thought that these bones may date from the 15th or 16th century and has been found under the road on Constitution Street in the area that used to be part of the burial ground at the 1483 built South Leith Parish Church.

Other recent findings have included stones and wooden structure but at the present time the archaeologists aren’t sure what the purpose of these were – but then finding out is surely a lot of the fun!

In other – probably less exciting! – construction news work is still ongoing along the route of the tramway with Leith Walk seeing site investigation, excavation works and surface water drainage installation. As was probably always going to happen the utility diversion works at the junction of McDonald Road/Leith Walk has discovered that the documents they were using which apparently showed all utilities which would need moving didn’t actually record everything. As a result additional electrical utility works are now needed and will be taking place over the next few weeks.

Probably dating from the 15th or 16th century this skeleton has recently been discovered under Constitution Street. What secrets of the past may he or she reveal of the history of Leith?

A stone and wooden structure has all been discovered but to date its purpose is uncertain. (All Photographs by John Hampton)

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5 Responses to In Pictures: More history discovered in Edinburgh as Trams to Newhaven project continues

  1. geoffcurrie says:

    They are not showing a great deal of respect for the people they continue to unearth are they?

    • Geoff IoM says:

      What, exactly, do you mean? In what sense are the archaeologists lacking in respect? What would you have them do differently?

  2. Nigel Pennick says:

    It is usual in these circumstances to take the bones away for scientific analysis and them give them a proper burial elsewhere.

  3. John1 says:

    Its very interesting what is being unearthed and is much more common that we realise. Most of us have been wandering around on top of shallow graves without ever knowing! Certainly in times past graves were not always moved when they should have been either!

  4. steve hyde says:

    In Manchester when 2CC was being built two quite seperate burial sites had to be dealt with. In St Peter’s Square the crypt of the long demolished St Peter’s church was already known to contain burials and modern survey techniques confirmed the numbers involved. Archaeologists were able to carry out their investigations before the crypt was capped under a massive reinforced concrete slab. On Cross Street another burial site was believed to exist outside Cross Street chapel and indeed further burials were found during survey work. Once again archeological investigation took place under a massive tent following which remains were reinterred away from the site.

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