About the project

The Rothwell Charnel Chapel Project is a multidisciplinary, community-engaged investigation of the 13th century charnel chapel situated beneath Rothwell Parish Church. The underground charnel room still contains the bones of hundreds of people, who lived and died between the 13th and 19th centuries.

The project originated with the doctoral research of Dr Jennifer Crangle. Her thesis, ‘A study of post-depositional funerary practices in medieval England‘ can be downloaded from the White Rose EThesis Repository.

Project aims

As one of only two surviving in situ medieval charnel chapels in England, the Rothwell charnel chapel presents an ideal archaeological resource for the investigation of topics such as:

  1. The interred population (osteological and biomolecular analysis of the skeletal remains, radiocarbon dating).

  2. Charnel chapel structure and date (buildings archaeology, spatial analysis, digital recording and enhancement of wall painting).

  3. The environs (field-walking, geophysical and landscape survey).

  4. Methods for future preservation and maintenance of ossuary material.

  5. The development of new methods for the analysis of commingled (mixed) and disarticulated bone assemblages.

  6. Comparative analysis of charnel chapels across England.

This project provides the research basis for a large-scale community initiative between the University (staff and students) and local stakeholders involving the production of learning/teaching resources, outreach activities and collaborative research between the University and local people. This collaboration will be strongly research-led and involve written publications in both academic journals and local media, group activities and online engagement via social networking.

We hope you find our research interesting!