Gravestone
About 400-year-old graves were discovered in a school playground in Edinburgh, Scotland — Representational imageGoogle Images

Graves dating back at least 400 years have been discovered in a school playground in Edinburgh, Scotland. The graves of children and adults date from the 15th to the 17th centuries, experts say.

Archaeologists have fenced off the area where the human remains were discovered at St Mary's Primary School in Leith and are conducting further search. However, the school remains open.

Archaeologists have found the outlines of at least nine coffins in the grounds, BBC reported, adding experts termed the discovery as an evidence of Leith's "rich archaeological history". The graves were reportedly discovered after a skeleton was found, accidentally, while digging up the playground of the school as part of investigative works for a new classroom.

Following the discovery of the skeleton, archaeologists were informed, who then found the other graves buried under the school playground.

Richard Lewis, City of Edinburgh Council's culture convener, reportedly told the news broadcaster that information obtained from the discovery site "is proving to be even more significant than previously thought".

He said the excavation would throw more light about the former inhabitants of Leith, adding the school community and the school children have shown interest in the ongoing excavation and the findings from the discovery.

skeleton
The ongoing excavation will throw more light about the former inhabitants of LeithCrossrail

John Lawson, City of Edinburgh Council archaeologist, said Leith and its surrounding areas have a "rich archaeological history" and that the excavations appear to be from the 15th to the 17th centuries.

"These excavations have unearthed what appears to be a complex cemetery thought to date from the 15th to the 17th centuries, containing at least nine graves including adults and young children buried in coffins.

"The discoveries of these burials in this location, although always a possibility, are nevertheless a surprise. Further excavations will reveal more evidence which will allow us to accurately date these burials and how they relate to the history of Leith," Lawson was quoted as saying about the discovery.

Meanwhile, the school will continue to build its new classrooms but will not be able to open them in time for the new school term as the construction was delayed due to ongoing archaeological work. The archaeologists are expected to work at the site until the end of June.