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Digging for Britain

Posted on 25 January 2023

Laura Yeoman, Access and Digital Engagement Archivist at the Borthwick Institute for Archives, was recently interviewed for BBC 2’s Digging for Britain.

Digging for Britain poster image of Alice Roberts overlooking English countryside and list of show titles and dates.

In 2007, On Site Archaeology uncovered the skeleton of a woman in a large grave in the remains of the church of All Saint’s Fishergate. The skeleton was located in the church apse, in an unusual crouched position, and it is thought this could be the physical remains of Isabelle German, a 15th century anchoress at the church.

In her interview, which will be broadcast in episode six of Digging for Britain on 12th February, Laura used some of York’s medieval probate registers to help tell more of the story of Isabelle German. Isabelle's own record of probate is held in the registers at the Borthwick Institute, and she was a beneficiary in a further six York wills. The records show she was an anchoress at All Saint’s Fishergate for over twenty years, until her death in 1448. Alice Roberts also interviewed the team who excavated the skeleton, to find out more about what the bones can tell us about the woman's life. 

You can find out more on BBC iPlayer now, or when the programme airs on BBC 2 on 15th February. You can also read more about the skeletal remains and the post-excavation work in Medieval Archaeology, Volume 66, Issue 2 (2022).