The mystery bones of Bradgate Park

Posted by stj3 at Oct 31, 2018 02:30 PM |
Mystery deposit of horse bones revealed in excavation of aristocratic stables at Bradgate Park

The fourth season of our Bradgate Park Fieldschool focused on a large building depicted on three 18th-century illustrations of the estate, but is no longer visible within the Park.

Our excavations revealed the presence a substantial building (48m x 9m) with a grand front porch and a stone pathway leading up to it from Bradgate House. The structural and artefactual evidence strongly indicates that the building was an aristocratic stable that could accommodate almost 30 horses (post-holes marking stable partitions were found inside). Dating evidence indicates the building was constructed in the 17th century and was standing by the time of King William III’s visit to the Park in 1696: it remained in use until the middle of the 19th century.

One of the mysteries of the excavation was a curious mound outside the north-west frontage of the building, revetted with large stone blocks, filled with horse bones (some of which were articulated), and sealed with clay. It looks like the bones were collected to be used as a building material, creating a mound of unknown purpose; however, analysis of the bones will take place in our laboratories in the coming months to try and establish the significance of the deposit.

Filed under:

Share this page: