Excavation of the cemetery at Stoke Quay, Ipswich – a special event for SMA members
On 15th of June, 15 lucky members of the Society attended a special event at Oxford Archaeology’s Head Office, focused on the remarkable medieval cemetery at Stoke Quay, Ipswich. The nearly 1200 burials excavated there represent the remains of nearly an entire urban parish, from the late Saxon period to the Reformation. Louise Loe, head of OA’s human osteology section, and her colleagues gave us a fantastic overview of the site and preliminary findings. We then had the opportunity to examine some of the more remarkable skeletons, with evidence of leprosy, possible tuberculosis, inter-personal violence and a rather sinister and baffling case of ‘sharp force trauma’. Because of the exceptional chronological span represented, it should be possible to relate patterns in osteology and bone chemistry with key historical developments, such as Scandinavian settlement, increasing impact of international trade and local industry on the lives of town-dwellers, and repeated occurrences of plague.
We are enormously grateful to Louise and her colleagues at OA for giving us such a fantastic ‘sneak preview’ of this remarkable site.We hope to offer SMA members more ‘special events’ in the coming months, so watch this space!