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Art Editorial

scottishsoldier18.jpg Hey! A 17th century Scottish soldier!

Two mass burial sites of Scottish soldiers were discovered in Durham city in 2013 and their story is told in a fascinating new exhibition at the Palace Green Library.

It never ceases to amaze me how advances in scientific techniques in the present can help blow away the murk on our past to reveal more yet layers of how people actually lived the lives. This particular show actually started its journey in the dirt in 2013, when skeletons were discovered during excavations in Durham and, for the first time, visitors to Durham University’s Palace Green Library will come face to face with a reconstruction of the face of one of the Scottish soldiers who lived and died more than 300 years ago. The exhibition shows how a multi-disciplinary team at Durham University pieced together evidence to establish details about the identities, lives and appearance of the soldiers, who were imprisoned and died in Durham following the Battle of Dunbar in 1650. It examines what life was like for soldiers and civilians during the civil wars in the 1660s and the stories of survivors of the battle are also unearthed, including those who were sent to the USA to work as indentured servants, many of whom have descendants alive today.

(Note: Woven Bones is a brand new play telling the incredible story of how archaeologists at Durham University used cutting edge science to give these soldiers back their voice and is being performed at Alphabetti Theatre in Newcastle on 27 & 28 June, and then touring to The Customs House, Arts Centre Washington and Gala Theatre in Durham.)

Bodies of Evidence: How Science Unearthed Durham’s Dark Secret, 9 June-7 October, Palace Green Library, Palace Green, Durham. dur.ac.uk/palace.green