Human skeleton unearthed on Hen Island

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  • <B>The skeleton</B> found buried in a shallow grave on Hen Island.<B></B>

    The skeleton found buried in a shallow grave on Hen Island.

  • The skeleton found buried in a shallow grave on Hen Island.

    The skeleton found buried in a shallow grave on Hen Island.

  • Unexpected find: Volunteers, from the left, Andrew Baylay, Virginia Adams, Linda Abend and Andrew Roberts investigate the skeleton found on Hen Island.

    Unexpected find: Volunteers, from the left, Andrew Baylay, Virginia Adams, Linda Abend and Andrew Roberts investigate the skeleton found on Hen Island.

  • <B>Volunteers</B> Linda Abend and Andrew Roberts working at the site of the discovery.<B></B>

    Volunteers Linda Abend and Andrew Roberts working at the site of the discovery.


A child playing on Hen Island in St George’s Harbour made a grim discovery a human skeleton possibly buried for more than 175 years.

Andrew Baylay, chairman of the National Trust’s Archaeological Research Committee, said that the bones were discovered last month.

The skeleton was carefully removed during a two-day excavation. “Ideally in these situations you leave the remains where they are,” Mr Baylay said.

“However, this site is considered at high risk due to the grave’s shallowness and the Cub Scouts use of the island means it would only be a matter of time before some of them mounted their own archaeological expedition.”

Little is known about the identity of the remains right now, however the Trust hopes to bring in a palaeopathologist with a view to discovering the age and gender of the body.

“In the meantime, the Trust will conduct extensive archival research to see if there is anything in the historical record that fits the facts as they have discovered them,” Mr Baylay said.

One possibility, according to Mr Baylay, is that the remains may belong to a Gunner named Thomas Squires who died on the island more than 175 years ago.

“A coroner’s inquest in The Royal Gazette of September 3, 1825, tells us Gunner Squires was injured during a storm on the island and subsequently died from those injuries,” he said.

“Unfortunately, we are not told where he was buried. Therefore, we will continue to investigate other possibilities, but it is likely the true identity of the individual will remain a mystery.”

Mr Baylay thanked Andrew Roberts and the St George’s Rotary Club for their help with the project. He added: “It’s always great when groups like the St George’s Rotary and individuals like Mr Roberts find something they think may be important and then contact people who can properly deal with it, and also take a real interest in helping out with that project.”

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Published Oct 18, 2011 at 9:12 am (Updated Oct 18, 2011 at 9:11 am)

Human skeleton unearthed on Hen Island

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