17 people thrown down in an England well 800 years ago may have been solved by scientists
A tangle of bones was discovered at the bottom of an 800-year-old medieval well in Norwich, England, in 2004. Based on their positioning, researchers determined that they had been thrown in head-first. Thanks to DNA analysis, scientists now have a better understanding of who these people were and how they died.
Researchers studied the DNA of six of the 17 bodies in a recently published study published in the scientific journal Current Biology. Those six people were “almost certainly” Ashkenazi Jews, and four of them were related.
According to the Daily Mail, evolutionary geneticist and study author Ian Barnes said: “It’s been over 12 years since we began investigating who these people are.”.
In addition, genetic analysis indicated that three of the six remains belonged to sisters, the youngest of whom was 5 to 10 years old. A young boy between the ages of 0 and 3 with blue eyes and red hair was also identified. At the time, red hair was associated with historical stereotypes of European Jews, according to CNN.
What led to the death of this group of Ashkenazi Jews? Why did their remains end up at the bottom of a well? Historical records have provided possible answers.
As the Times of Israel reports, violence against Jewish people in Norwich then was caused by “decades of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and blood libels.” According to the Daily Mail, despite the fact that Jews had been invited to England by the crown to lend money – an activity forbidden by the Bible – their wealth led to resentment.
The 1190 massacre may have led to the deaths of the people found in the well, but it’s not entirely certain. Based on radiocarbon dating, the bodies were thrown into the well between 1161 and 1216, a period characterized by plenty of bloodshed. There is a possibility that they died during another period of anti-Semitic violence or during the bloody Great Revolt of 1174.
The 17 people met horrific ends, regardless of when they died. They were buried properly after their remains were identified by researchers. In Norwich, a commemorative plaque has been placed over the remains, according to the Times of Israel.
Barnes told Nature that the bodies were buried in the appropriate graveyard with the appropriate religious rites. They got there in the end, after more than 800 years.”
Regardless of when the 17 people died, it seems clear that they met an horrific end. Researchers determined that their remains should be properly buried after identifying them. The Times of Israel reports that the remains placed beeentombeded in Norwich’s Jewish cemetery, where a commemorative plaque has been placed.
Despite more than 800 years, Barnes told Nature, “they were buried in a graveyard with the appropriate religious rites.”
Discover the story of the Jewish prayer pendants found at the site of a Nazi death camp in Poland. You can also learn about the Jewish parachutists who fought the Nazis during World War II after reading about the bodies found in a medieval well in England