Ancient bones discovered 30 years ago could help researchers point to exactly where Christianity began in Scotland.
Three decades ago, researchers uncovered a mass grave full of thousands of bones in Whithorn that could prove that Christianity spread on the south west coast of Scotland. Withorn is already believed to be the site of a major Christian settlement. In fact, the Latinus Stone, the earliest Christian memorial in Scotland dating back to 450 AD is found there.
Now, new technology could reveal if the bones belonged to some of Scotland’s earliest Christians.
“It could confirm what people in Whithorn already believe, that it is the true cradle of Christianity in Scotland,” Julia Muir Watt, development manager at the Whithorn Trust, told The Scotsman.
Researchers hope analysis of the bone will determine their age, diet, and migration patterns.
“Advancements in research and analysis techniques since the collection was excavated mean that it is likely that the project will result in some radical discoveries in relation to dates and interpretation,” a spokesperson for the Museums Galleries Scotland said.
Scholars also point to the writings of St. Bede as evidence that Whithorn is the cradle of Christianity in Scotland. St. Bede wrote in the 8th century of a man named Nynia who brought the Christian faith to Scotland. Nynia has long been associated with the Whithorn area.
Archaeologists later unearthed churches, graveyards, and chapels dating back to the 8th and 9th centuries in the area.