Source/Archive record SYO1926 - Crime and Punishment in 19th Century York: Analysing the Skeletons Excavated at the former Female Prison

Title Crime and Punishment in 19th Century York: Analysing the Skeletons Excavated at the former Female Prison
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Abstract/Summary

In Spring 1998, five skeletons dating to the 19th century were discovered during an archaeological evaluation by York Archaeological Trust at York Castle Car Park. The skeletons were buried immediately north of the former Female Prison and appeared to be the remains of individuals incarcerated in the County Gaol at York Castle. Osteological analysis of three of the well-preserved skeletons revealed that the group included one mature adult male and two young adult females. One of the young adult females appeared to have received a post-mortem craniotomy and possibly an autopsy to her chest. The burials were believed to date between 1802 and 1826, though they could potentially be slightly earlier. It has been suggested that these burials were criminals who had been hanged in the prison; however, it was unclear from the skeletal evidence how these individuals had died. The aim of this short report is to establish why these prisoners were buried within prison grounds, the nature of the crimes that they might have sentenced for, and the circumstances in which convicted criminals were subjected to autopsy.

Referenced Monuments (1)

  • CASTLE MUSEUM THE FEMALE PRISON (Building)

Referenced Events (2)

  • Former Female Prison, Castle Yard (Ref: YORYM 1998.32)
  • Former Female Prison, Castle Yard (Ref: YORYM 1998.32)

Record last edited

Feb 7 2017 3:18PM

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