Medieval Lion Skulls Tell Tale of Royal Menagerie

The skulls of two lions dating to the 13th and 15th centuries, discovered in the moat of the Tower of London, give credence to historic accounts of the Tower's fabled Menagerie, a popular tourist attraction in medieval times.

Established by King John in the 13th century, the Tower's menagerie served as the King's private animal collection until 1835 when it was closed. Lions, considered "living emblems" of England, were particularly popular.

The skulls were discovered in an area between the Lion and Middle Towers which would have been a moat in period.