Human arm bone discovered on Radcliffe Infirmary site

The human bone discovered where the Blavatnik building is being built in Walton Street, Oxford.

The human bone discovered where the Blavatnik building is being built in Walton Street, Oxford.

First published in News

ARCHAEOLOGISTS are still working to find out how a human arm bone was discovered at a Jericho building site.

Police were called after the bone was uncovered on the former Radcliffe Infirmary site, now being redeveloped as Oxford University’s Radcliffe Observatory Quarter.

It was first spotted on Monday, May 19, by David Freud, owner of the Freud’s bar next door to the site, where the university is constructing the Blavatnik School of Government.

Up to 700 bodies were buried on the site after dying at the city centre hospital, some as long as 240 years ago. But the remains of hundreds of people buried at Oxford’s Radcliffe Infirmary were exhumed before building work started.

Mr Freud said: “I saw what looked like an arm bone lying on the ground on the other side of the wall.

Oxford Mail:

Bar owner David Freud, who found it

“I contacted a forensic anthropologist, who confirmed it was a right arm bone and we contacted the police.

“One of the requirements placed on the university was that the remains of people buried in the cemetery were to be carefully removed and reinterred in consecrated ground.”

Oxford University spokesman Matt Pickles said it was investigating.

He said: “The excavation of the remains was carried out under strict standards by the respected archaeological practice Oxford Archaeology. We can also confirm that excavations have all been carried out except for underneath the boundary wall dividing the site from Freud’s.”

Thames Valley Police spokeswoman Rhianne Pope said: “A forensic anthropologist attended the site and confirmed the bone is believed to date back to the 18th or 19th century when the site was used as a cemetery.”

The university was granted permission to exhume the remains by a public hearing held by the Consistory Court of the Diocese of Oxford, with permission granted by the Diocese Chancellor Rupert Bursell.

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