6 Strange Discoveries Found During Construction Excavation

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6 Historical Finds During Construction | F.E. Moran

Construction excavation usually just brings up dirt, trash, and rocks - but more often than you'd think, strange discoveries are found during construction excavation.  Here is our list of the top 6 strangest discoveries found during construction.

1)   Medieval Mansion -- In Southwest England, a housing development was being excavated.  It is standard procedure to perform an archeological dig prior to construction in Somerset Country.  No one would have suspected that they would find a medieval mansion dating to the 12th century.  All that was left of the mansion was the foundation.  Archeologists worked to find information about the mansion, but no records showed that a house was ever built there.  

 "This sort of thing turning up -- a large medieval building of such high status without any surviving historical records -- it's exceptionally mysterious and strange," said senior historic environment officer for the Somerset Country Council.  "It looks as if it's a previously unrecorded, undocumented, high-status, ecclestiastical manor house.  Such things are as rare as hen's teeth."   

Photo by news.discovery.com 

Medieval mansion discovered at excavation site | F.E. Moran  


2)  Ancient Church -- A church dating back 1,500 years from the Byzantine period was discovered in Jerusalem during a highway construction project.  The original road was built in the Roman period and, during the course of the highway project, has been a place of discovery.  Several settlements and road stations have been found along the route.  Annette Nagar, director of excavation on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority said, "The road station ceased to be used at the end of the Byzantine period; although, the road beside which it was built was renewed and continued to be in use until modern times." 

Photo from livescience.com 

Ancient church discovered during road excavation 


3)  3,000 Skeletons -- An excavation was underway in London while developing the new Liverpool Street Station of the rail network.  While excavating, 3,000 skeletons were found.  A hospital cemetary from 1569 - 1738 was discovered that held the remains of London's poor, religious non-conformists, inmates, plague victims, and others.  

Among the skeletons found was a mother buried with her child.  No records were kept on this cemetary, so the remains are unknown.  

The site also has revealed artefacts from Roman times.

Photo from dailymail.co.uk 

3,000 skeletons found at construction site 

4)  The Dead are Rising in DC -- A former graveyard in Georgetown was paved over to become a playground and pool in the early 20th century.  However, the bodies have been rising ever since along Q Street.   Most recently, a home improvement project was using a Bobcat tractor when it hit a skull.  The medical examiner quickly realized that a body had - once gain - risen along Q Street.

In September 2015, 5 sets of remains were found during home improvement projects.  A driveway being repaved uncovered a skull and two other sets of remains while two more skulls were found during a backyard project later that month.  In 2005, masonry workers were removing the foundation of a home when they found a jaw bone, ribs, and joints.  The bones were 100 years old.  Remains have been found beneath homes that were built as early as the 1800s.

It has not been stated why the bodies are rising.  

Read more at the Washington Post. 

5)  King Richard III -- DNA tests confirmed that human remains found while excavating a parking garage were those of King Richard III, whose body had been missing for 500 years.  The King was killed during the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485.  The fact that the skeleton wasn't damaged was a miracle.  It was mere inches from the foundation.  Another strike at luck was in the DNA match.  The descendants whose DNA was compared were both the last of their line.  If the remains were discovered a generation later, there wouldn't be any DNA to compare it to.  

The condition of the remains suggests that he died from a blow to the head during the battle.  After his death, it appears his body was put on display. 

Photo from Washington Post. 

King Richard III remains found beneath parking garage 

6)  Ancient Mosaic at Visitor Center -- An ancient mosaic was discovered in 2015 during the construction of a visitor center in Israel.  The mosaic was measured at 36x42 feet with a depiction of nature.

Photo from weather.com 

Israel mosaic discovered at construction site 

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