Abbey searched for remains of last Anglo-Saxon king

14th October 2014, Comments 0 comments

A British team that helped find the remains of late king Richard III in 2012 on Tuesday turned their attention to the presumed burial site of the last royal of the Anglo-Saxon era.

Stratascan, which uses ground-penetrating radar technology, said it was carrying out a scan at Waltham Abbey north of London where king Harold II is believed to have been laid to rest.

Harold is said to have been killed by an arrow in the eye in the Battle of Hastings against the Normans in 1066 -- the most famous date in English history.

A company representative told AFP the scan would be completed on Tuesday, which is the 948th anniversary of the battle, and the results were expected in "a couple of weeks".

English Heritage has given its permission for the excavation, although some experts are sceptical that the burial can be found due to extensive rebuilding work over nearly 1,000 years.

The abbey traces its origins back to the 7th century and the site currently identified as the grave lies outside in the churchyard in what would have formerly been part of the building under the church's main altar.

Harold's death at Hastings is disputed by amateur historian and historical novelist Peter Burke, who is funding the research.

Burke cites a legend quoted in a 12th-century document, the Vita Haroldi, saying that the king survived and lived as a hermit before dying four decades later.

Stratascan said it was also part of the project that uncovered Richard III's skeleton on the site of a former church under a car park in Leicestershire two years ago -- five centuries after the king was killed in the Battle of Bosworth Field.


© 2014 AFP

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