HISTORIANS have been left open-mouthed as they continue to uncover skulls, ribs and jawbones on the muddy site of a former prison colony.
Extraordinary footage shows dozens of human remains scaled in barnacles and littering the sludgy banks of Deadman’s Island in Kent.
The small river island was used as a burial place for prisoners who perished from disease in the 19th century, with coffins buried six feet below the mud.
Holding up a human jaw with barnacles stuck to the sides, amateur historians were filmed gasping in astonishment.
‘A BONE GRAVEYARD’
“It literally is a bone graveyard,” one can be heard saying.
“That is incredible, still with the teeth left in it, can’t believe I’m touching a human jawbone.
“Can’t imagine what this person has seen or been through, it beggars belief.”
That is incredible, still with the teeth left in it, can’t believe I’m touching a human jawbone.
In 2016 the remains of more than 200 humans were found on the island, believed to belong to men and boys who died on board floating jails known as prison hulks, moored in the area more than 200 years ago.
For many years the grim finds remained invisible to the human eye.
But rising sea levels and coastal erosion have begun to slowly wash away their final resting place, leaving wooden coffins and skeletal remains poking out of the mud.
They are now being washed out into the sea, making them difficult to rebury.
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The uninhabited mudbank on the estuary of the River Medway is owned by Natural England, who lease it to two people.
Visitors are actually banned from the island, though camera crews are sometimes permitted.
As well as a graveyard of bones, the protected wetland also serves as an important breeding and nesting site for birds.
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