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Teens discover monk's remains

PUBLISHED: 12:42 16 April 2004 | UPDATED: 04:47 02 March 2010

A GROUP of teenagers have unearthed the remains of an ancient monk after spending their Easter holidays working on an archaeological dig.

Seven youngsters, aged 13 to 19, from the CYDS project have been hard at work on the dig at Leiston Abbey for the past fortnight.

A GROUP of teenagers have unearthed the remains of an ancient monk after spending their Easter holidays working on an archaeological dig.

Seven youngsters, aged 13 to 19, from the CYDS project have been hard at work on the dig at Leiston Abbey for the past fortnight.

And this week their efforts have been rewarded with the discovery of a skeleton thought to date back as far as the 13th century.

Chelsea Chenoweth, 16, uncovered the first part of the skull. She said: "I was really excited. It had been dragging on a bit last week, and everybody was miserable as it was raining all the time, but then I uncovered the top of the skull, and now we are working our way down the rest of the body.

"It's really been an experience. It's amazing to think that there's all this history just up the road from where I live."

The dig is a joint project between Suffolk County Council's archaeological service and youth group CYDS. It is being funded with money from the Heritage Lottery Fund's Young Roots scheme.

Duncan Allan, a member of the county council's field team, said: "We are assuming that the skeleton is one of the monks from the old abbey.

"It could date back to anytime between 1200 and 1500 AD."

The team have also uncovered the foundations of an old cottage and hope, in the future, to look for the abbey's old kitchen.

Mr Allan said: "It's a very important project because it enables the young people to get an idea of their local heritage. It's been very exciting for them and they've all done a brilliant job."

The dig will come to an end today and the skeletons and other findings will be left in situ and covered over.

Another, longer, dig is planned for the summer.

CYDS project manager Chris Lee said: "I'm absolutely ecstatic they've found something and that local young people have been really interested in getting involved."

An open day is being held at the site tomorrow from 12pm - 4pm. Admission is free and a local historian will be on hand to give guided tours of the site.


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