Remarkable ground-penetrating technology has revealed more than 500 graves of Cistercian monks and lay brothers who once lived at Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire, now cared for by the National Trust.
The abbey at the site existed from the early 12th century to its closure in 1539 during the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
The conservation charity has been working for over two years on a project with experts from the University of Bradford, Geoscan Research, and Mala Geoscience to research the largest monastic ruins in the country. Geophysical techniques and ground penetrating radar have formed part of a major research project at the World Heritage Site, adding new details about the life of the monastic community and their burial rituals.
National Trust archaeologist Mark Newman said: “This has been an incredible opportunity to work with a remarkable group of geophysics experts and we are extremely grateful to them for their support, advice and enthusiasm. Thanks to this remarkable modern technology and research, we now know fascinating and hitherto unknown details of the life of the monastic community which we can share with our visitors.”
The discovery of the monks’ cemetery features in one of the National Trust’s new series of podcasts ‘Ten Places, Europe & Us’ presented by historian and broadcaster Bettany Hughes.
The Fountains Abbey podcast will be available from 14 November via iTunes and all other major podcast platforms.
Further information on the findings can be found here.
Photo: National Trust Images/Andrew Butler
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