When news happens, text LT and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Skeletons found in Darwen hint at town's ‘African’ past
SKELETONS excavated in Darwen could unlock a secret history of the town, according to local experts.
“Interesting anomalies” never before seen in the UK, have been found in skeletons unearthed at a former Methodist burial site where Darwen Academy building now sits, off Redearth Road.
Thirteen of the bodies had large glass beads around their necks, and another two men have been identified as possibly being African or American Indian, because of bone features.
Oxford University archeologists are now awaiting results gene tests to discover where the bodies have come from.
Dot Waring of the Darwen Research Group, which secured £2,000 Town Council funding for the testing, said: “There were a lot of bodies there, all on top of one another in a big grave.
“They had to be excavated before the academy could be built, and we didn’t really know what would be found.
“Were the men of foreign extraction married to women from Darwen, were they visiting preachers who died here, or were they part of a circus?
“Our research group has been going through records trying to find unusual names from the time, but we’ve not come up with anything yet.
“The glass beads are interesting too. Why were they worn? Were they seen as a lucky charm?
“Hopefully we can begin to shed new light on Darwen’s past. Eventually we want to be able to put a programme together for school children to learn about their heritage.”
The burial site for was used in the early 1800s and contained dozens of bodies. Before foundations for the £48million Darwen Academy were dug, the developer had to pay for the removal of bodies.
Until testing is complete, no reburial will take place.