17 Jews killed in Britain in religious persecution to receive proper burialBy Mason White 3:44 AM March 24, 2013
|Some of the Jewish bones which were found in a Norwich well|
By: Shifra Unger
17 Jewish people including children were butchered for being Jews in Britain, many years ago.
Now, the remains of the 17 people suspected of having been killed during a religious persecution in the 12th century, will be given a ceremonial Jewish burial in Norwich.
The bones, including the remains of 11 children, were found in 2004 during archaeological survey work before a development project in the city.
Historical evidence has shown that the bones are remains of Jews.
This is a “historic event” and “unique”, a spokesperson for the Jewish community said.
The remains were put into storage by the Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service after the excavation for delicate and sensitive research.
They will be buried by the Jewish community of Norwich in Earlham Jewish cemetery on Tuesday. More research, using DNA samples will be done in the future.
Clive Roffe, who is a Norwich representative on the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: “Nothing is 100 percent sure, but the historical evidence leads us to believe that the remains are of Jews. So we’re giving them a burial in our cemetery. It feels like the hand of fate has allowed the opportunity to fall on us, after more than 800 years. It’s a historic event.”
However, according to Alan West, the Curator of Archaeology Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service, there are no signs of the people having been ‘butchered’.
“According to the post-excavation report the only signs of trauma are a broken clavicle and rib, both healed, a greenstick fracture and another possible fracture. There is also no evidence dating or otherwise to tie the remains to any recorded act of violence against the Jewish population. Additionally, according to the scientific DNA report, there is nothing particular to signify that the remains are Jewish, West told YourJewishNews.com.
Norwich had been home to a thriving Jewish community since 1135 and many lived near the site as well.
However, there are records of persecution agianst the Jews in medieval England including in Norwich.
Eleven of the 17 skeletons were those of children aged between two and 15 years. The remaining six were adult men and women.
Alex Bennett, Minister of the Norwich Hebrew Congregation, who will head the burial ceremony, said: “I think doing this is pretty well unheard of, but we believe it is the right thing to do.
The Jews who died deserve a proper burial, and that’s what we will do with complete funeral prayers.
I feel rather privileged to perform this unique service.”
The remains will be buried in a grave with a Jewish prayer shawl on top of them.