Winchester academic contributes to new biography of Alfred the Great

21 Aug 2014

Dr Katie Tucker, Post-Doctoral Fellow in Human Bioarchaeology at the University, led an archaeological investigation that discovered a pelvic bone thought to belong to the King or his son King Edward the Elder.

King Alfred’s remains are known to have been moved many times since he died in 899 AD, however their final resting place has been shrouded in mystery.

In January, the University of Winchester and community-based cultural group Hyde900 revealed they had found a fragment of bone, among remains found in the ruins of Hyde Abbey, that could be plausibly linked to the King of Wessex.

This intriguing addition to the story of King Alfred has inspired a new biography, In Search of Alfred the Great: The King, the Grave, the Legend.

In the book, Dr Tucker has been able to trace the historical story of Alfred’s remains, from his burial at Old Minster in Winchester to the New Minster and then to Hyde Abbey. She also shares her new research, including the excavation of the Unmarked Grave at Hyde Parish Church and the analysis and dating of the bones from Hyde Abbey.

“As well as offering a new biography of the life of Alfred the Great, this book is the first time that the full story of the new research has been set down in print,” said Dr Tucker. “However, there is still the potential for more to be uncovered about Alfred and his family.

“Hopefully, there will be new excavations at Hyde Abbey and DNA comparisons with the remains from the mortuary chests in Winchester Cathedral.”

The University of Winchester, Winchester City Council and Hyde900 are in discussions about undertaking further investigations at the site of Hyde Abbey to find further remains of King Alfred and the Wessex royal family.

Dr Tucker’s coauthor Edoardo Albert has written historical biographies and fiction, as well as short stories and features for Ancient Paths, Time Out and History Today.

In Search of Alfred the Great: The King, the Grave, the Legend by Edoardo Albert and Katie Tucker will be available from Amberley Publishing from 28 August.

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