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Planning the reburial

Footage of the graveside reburial service
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For the burial today we always knew that they would be reburied at the start when we excavated them, so the reburial has had quite a lot of thought and care put into the planning to try and achieve something that was consistent with their beliefs in the 17th century but that also would reflect modern expectations as well. So we’ve worked together with the Cathedral and the Church of Scotland and other stakeholders to try and devise a ceremony that would be fitting and dignified in keeping with the circumstances.
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The planning for today’s reburial services has taken place over the last 6 months and there were representatives from Durham Cathedral and from the Church in Scotland as well as members of the research team and all those that have shown interest in the project over the past 5 years. For us, it’s the end of 5 years’ research work and we’ve learnt an awful lot from these men, both about their childhoods, and about what happened during the whole Dunbar story, the battle and what happened here in Durham and we hope that today is a fitting reburial undertaken with dignity and simplicity and in keeping with 17th century traditions. We feel very privileged to have been part of this project.
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It’s been a real opportunity to find out so much about the lives that they led and the circumstances of their deaths and I feel too that I’ve really learnt an immense amount so I’m very grateful for that opportunity. And when they died their graves were meant to be forgotten. They were buried without dignity or ceremony, and they were forgotten for centuries, so this burial is a way of affording them some of the dignity that they lacked at the time. It is a way, above all, of remembering them, that people have a place they can go and visit them if they wish.

This video includes footage of the reburial of the Scottish Soldiers in Durham; Anwen Caffell and Chris Gerrard provide insights into the choices made about the graveside service.

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Archaeology and the Battle of Dunbar 1650: From the Scottish Battlefield to the New World

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