The bones of Queen Eadgyth, wife of the Holy Roman Emperor Otto I, were discovered in the Madgeburg Cathedral in 2008. Her bones were wrapped in expensive silk, placed in a lead coffin, which in turn was enclosed in a stone sarcophagus. Experts believed that the sarcophagus was likely empty before it was opened.
Eadgyth was the daughter Eadweard the Elder and granddaughter of Alfred the Great. She was sent to Germany when she was 19 in the hopes of building political relations. Descendants of Eadgyth and Otto ruled Germany until 1254, and remain progenitors to many of Europe’s royal families today.
The interior lead coffin bore Queen Eadgyth’s name and mention of the content’s transfer from a monastery in 1510.
“EDIT REGINE CINERES HIC SARCOPHAGVS HABET…”
In addition to Eadgyth’s remains, an infestation of beetles were also found that date to the transfer. Testing on the 40 remaining bones and fragments (hands, feets, and some skull were missing) at Bristol University revealed that the interred was born and raised in the chalky uplands of Wessex at the end of the 10th century. Testing at the University of Mainz confirmed she was female and died between 30 and 40 years or age. She enjoyed a high-protein diet and evidence from a femur suggested she was an avid horse-rider. Despite efforts to do so, DNA could not be extracted from the remains. In 2010, she was re-interred at Madgeburg Cathedral in a titanium coffin (designed by Leipzig sculptor Kornelia Thümmel) during an ecumenical ceremony.
- “Editha-Sarg: DNA-Analyse soll Rätsel um Königin lösen“, Spiegel Online, Wissenschaft, 2009-01-29
- “Saxon queen discovered in Germany“, University of Bristol, 2010-01-20
- “Tomb of the Saxon Queen: Discovered, Alfred’s granddaughter“, Mail Online, 2010-01-21
- “Remains of first king of England’s sister found in German cathedral“, The Guardian, 2010-06-16
- “Bones confirmed as those of Saxon Princess Eadgyth“, University of Bristol, 2010-06-17
- “Gemahlin von Otto dem Großen: Königin Editha im Magdeburger Dom bestattet“, Spiegel Online, Wissenschaft, 2010-10-22
- “Queen Eadgyth laid to rest. Again.“, The History Blog, 2010-10-24
- “Eadgyth“, Wikipedia