Archaeologists excavating a lost medieval sacristy at Westminster Abbey in London have uncovered what they believe are the remains of Catholic monks.
They made the discovery while working on an area of the abbey grounds used as a burial ground for monks before the 13th century.
The abbey, which is famous as the site of English royal weddings and burials, was originally established as a community of Benedictine monks in the 960s. It was known as St. Peter’s Abbey because, according to tradition, a fisherman on the nearby River Thames had a vision of St. Peter.
Researchers believe that the excavated area may contain hundreds, or possibly even thousands, of bodies, the Guardian reported Aug. 23.
Westminster Abbey launched a project in January to reveal the foundations of the medieval Great Sacristy on the abbey’s North Green. The excavations will be followed by the construction of a new building on the site to house welcome, ticketing and security facilities for abbey visitors.
The Great Sacristy, an L-shaped building, was built in 1251, when King Henry III ordered the complete reconstruction of an 11th-century church that was erected during the reign of St. Edward the Confessor.
The monks would have kept vestments, altar linen, and sacred vessels used at Mass in the sacristy. According to records, a second floor was added to the Great Sacristy in the 1380s.
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