Violent trauma marks Stirling skeletons

The area near Stirling Castle in Scotland was a dangerous place in the 13th - 15th centuries. Evidence of this can be seen in the recent discovery of five skeletons buried at the castle which exhibit signs of having suffered "brutally violent" deaths.

The five skeletons were buried beneath a recently-discovered 12th century chapel and have been carbon dated to the time of the Wars of Independence. All suffered skull and other bone fractures. "It was unusual for people to be buried under the floor of a royal chapel and we suspected that they must have been pretty important people who died during periods of emergency - perhaps during the many sieges which took place, said Richard Strachan, Historic Scotland's senior archaeologist.

"The fact that five of the skeletons suffered broken bones, consistent with beatings or battle trauma, suggests this could be what happened."

One of the skeletons has been identified by The Scotsman as an "Amazon," a "robust and muscular female, standing 5ft 4in tall," who was "ruthlessly killed by a warhammer."