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The graves of women and children have been uncovered at the site. Archaeologists found the burial site of women and children just below the surface of the sand dunes on Whitesands Bay in Pembrokeshire. Families could be seen playing near where the remains were found, according to Wales Online. A team from Dyfed Archaeological Trust and the University of Sheffield are now in a race against time to see what other secrets the dunes hold before they are lost. A rescue excavation took place following severe storms in andand this was followed by two seasons of work in and when 90 burial sites were identified in total.
The team has now returned to see what else they can discover about the people who once worshipped at the site. There was an attempt by Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority to protect the Scheduled Ancient Monument in when large boulders were placed on the dunes to try and slow erosion. However, in stormy weather ripped the boulders away and exposed further burials.
The earliest remains at the site, where St Patrick's Chapel once stood, appear to belong to a Bronze Age funerary cairn that was later overlaid by the cemetery, shown by radiocarbon dating to have been in use between the 6th and 11th centuries. A description of the chapel by George Owen in said: "Capel Patrick is full west of St Davids and placed as near his country, namely Ireland, as it could well be. It is now wholly decayed. Analysis by the University of Sheffield has revealed that the burials were of all ages and a mix of men, women, and children.
All the graves were aligned with the head pointing west and with no possessions, in keeping with early Christian burial traditions. Each North Wales Live bulletin delivers the latest breaking news, what's on events and the hottest talking points straight to your inbox. For more information about how to subscribe. Some of the skeletons were found to be in cists — graves lined and capped with stone slabs, a burial tradition common across western Britain in the early medieval period.
Some of the child burials were found to have an unusual feature, with white quartz pebbles placed on the top of the cists. The Dyfed Archaeological Trust said there is "still a ificant amount of evidence left to excavate," including an "intriguing stone structure which pre-dates the burials".
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