St Benedict’s relics discovered at the British Museum (The Guardian)
The new medieval gallery at the British Museum is full of beautiful images of saints in ivory, stone, gold and wood – but invisible to visitors, it also holds the bones of 39 real saints, whose discovery came as a shock to their curator.
The relics, packed in tiny bundles of cloth including one scrap of fabric over 1,000 years old, were found when a 12th-century German portable altar was opened for the first time since it came into the British Museum collection in 1902.
It was in for a condition check and cleaning, before going on display in the gallery that opens tomorrow – but to the amazement of James Robinson, curator of medieval antiquities, when it was opened a linen cloth was revealed, and inside it dozens of tiny bundles of cloth, each neatly labelled on little pieces of vellum.
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