London, Oct 21 (ANI): A Hampshire dig by archeologists has unearthed a site that may house Britain's earliest known hospital.
Radio carbon analysis at the former Leper Hospital at St Mary Magdalen in Winchester, Hampshire, has provided a date range of AD 960-1030 for a series of burials, many exhibiting evidence of leprosy.
A number of other artefacts, pits, and postholes relate to the same time, including what appears to be a large sunken structure underneath a medieval infirmary.
Most historians and archaeologists had believed hospitals in Britain only dated from after the Norman conquest of 1066.
"This is an important archaeological development," the Guardian quoted Dr Simon Roffey from the University of Winchester, as saying.
"Historically, it has always been assumed that hospitals were a post-conquest phenomenon, the majority founded from the late 11th century onwards.
"However, our excavations have revealed a range of buildings and, more significantly, convincing evidence for a foundation in the 10th century.
"Our excavations at St Mary Magdalen offer an intriguing insight into a little known aspect of the history of both Winchester and England. It is undoubtedly a site of national importance," Roffey added. (ANI)