Maastricht skeletons ‘100 to 200 years old’
19 May 2004
AMSTERDAM — The skeletons found in the southern Dutch city Maastricht at the start of May are between 100 to 200 years old, research by the Dutch Forensics Institute (NFI) has indicated.
Maastricht City Council said five complete skeletons and part of a sixth skeleton have been identified and recovered. Four of the skeletons are the remains of men and a fifth was a woman.
All six skeletons are the remains of people aged between 15 and 59 at the time of their death. Researchers have estimated the ages by studying the state of their teeth, Dutch public news service NOS reported on Wednesday.
The examinations were conducted by an NFI employee, Dr George Maat, who also works at the Institute for Pathology and Anatomy at Leiden University.
After the age of the skeletons was determined, investigating Limburg police turned the human remains over to the Maastricht city archaeologist for further study.
But it is too early for the archaeologist to come to definite conclusions, but it has been ruled out that the skeletons were part of a family grave due to the absence of more female skeletons.
As no military artefacts were found in the vicinity and that skeletons of older men were also found, the archaeologist has also almost completely ruled out the possibility that the skeletons are the remains of soldiers.
Monks were usually buried at the cemetery of the present-day Bonnefantencollege and there are no indications the skeletons were victims of either World War I or II.
The Maastricht city archaeologist has asked Maat to conduct further examinations before the skeletons are handed over to the Maastricht Council with a detail report at the end of this year.
The skeletons were on uncovered on 4 May during renovation work on the front garden of a house on Picardenlaan in Maastricht. The NFI was immediately called in to investigate.
Soon after the discovery, there had been speculation the skeletons were the remains of French musketeers killed during a 17 century siege led by the famous D’Artagnan — who was immortalised by Alexandre Dumas in his novel The Three Musketeers.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news