Gosnold results revealed today

RESULTS of scientific tests today suggest a skeleton excavated in Suffolk last year is likely to have belonged to Elizabeth Tilney, sister of Suffolk explorer Bartholomew Gosnold.

RESULTS of scientific tests today suggest a skeleton excavated near Hadleigh last year is likely to have belonged to Elizabeth Tilney, sister of Suffolk explorer Bartholomew Gosnold.

The implication is that remains of man discovered in Jamestown, Virginia, USA, in 2002 is less likely to be that of Gosnold.

The results are from newly completed strontium and oxygen isotope tests which measures deposits in bones and teeth built up from drinking water, and allow scientists to identify the area in which an individual lived.

The skeleton believed to have belonged to Elizabeth Tilney were dug up in June last year at Shelley church .


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It was the first time the Church of England approved a scientific exploration to remove DNA material from the grave.

A comparison was made with DNA material taken from a man buried with a captain's staff within the original fort of the first permanent settlement in the 'New World'.

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The results were disappointing as the two skeletons were not members of the same family.

James Halsall, a spokesman for the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, said: “The oxygen isotope results for the teeth of the Jamestown and Shelley skeletons show that they both probably came from southern England.

“The strontium results for both individuals are consistent with an origin on Cretaceous deposits. While it is clear that the Shelley skeleton probably grew up in a chalk-dominated landscape, the Jamestown one did not.”

The best historic evidence available indicates that Bartholomew and Elizabeth Gosnold came from the Otley area, where the dominant geology is chalky glacial till.

There are two thoughts about who is buried in Jamestown. The remains could be Sir Ferdinando Wenman, the master of the ordnance at Jamestown or Captain Gabriel Archer, a lawyer who was the first recorder of Jamestown.

Weblink: www.stedmundsbury.anglican.org

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