Recent findings


25 Jan 2021

Our 70-strong team of archaeologists working in Trinity Burial Ground have started piecing together intriguing clues from the past.

We’ll be documenting some of the interesting artefacts found while working on site so why not take a look below at our recent findings.

Sealed bottle

A sealed bottle has been found containing a brown liquid. The bottle is glass, and says ‘Hull Infirmary’ on the side. It looks to have been deliberately buried within a grave. We’re looking into whether the contents can be tested to find out what it is.

Have you come across chemist paraphernalia dispensed by Hull Infirmary? Perhaps you’ve uncovered a glass bottle like this from your garden or you’ve spotted an earthenware ointment jars on a shelf of antiques?

Sealed bottle

Jewellery and coins found

We’ve found a pair of coins, issued in the Netherlands, from a burial. They were found where a trouser pocket might once have been.

Do you have Dutch connections and live in Hull today? Can you tell us anything more about Willelm I?

Two coins found in a burial, on a man's palm

This collection of small purple beads were found with one of the graves. And we found this gold wedding band with hallmarks. Do you recognise the hallmarks?

Small purple beads, some whole and some broken      Gold wedding band

This copper-alloy chain-linked cufflink has been found. It has a design still slightly visible which was worn by navy officers.

Do you or anyone else you know have cufflinks with naval associations?

Old-looking copper-alloy cufflinks in a man's hand

Studded coffin plate

A preserved coffin inscription, with the name and age of the buried individual picked out on the surface of the coffin lid in copper studs.

It recorded 79-year-old Jane Griswood (died 2 November 1834). The use of studwork for recording the biographical information (rather than condensed information, such as initials) seems both unusual and a little outdated for the time of burial, as was the use of ‘obt’ rather than ‘died’ as seen more commonly on the painted coffin plates.

We’ve been able to match the data to a burial register record, where the surname is actually spelled incorrectly as Griswold rather than Griswood!

Is your surname Griswood? And are your family from Hull? If so, let us know if you think you may be a relation of Jane Griswood.

Studded coffin plate

Floral tribute

We found this collection of plant remains preserved on top of a coffin from one of the tombs excavated this week. The floral tribute was laid on top of the coffin plate. The consensus is that it is a variety of bilberry, probably cowberry (or lingonberry).

Have you spotted any growing locally in Hull?

Floral tribute

Brick-lined grave built in the shape of a coffin

We have excavated our first shaft grave, which was brick-lined and capped by stone. The coffin plate had largely disintegrated but the coffin grips, each with a plate depicting cherubs, were well preserved.

This is an ornate grip plate from the brick-lined grave. The design includes two winged cherubs a cartouche and foliage.

Have you spotted images of cherubs like this in and around Hull? On grave stones, building façades, church carvings? If you have, share your photos with us. Tell us where you took them and we’ll share them next week.


This floral brooch was found within a grave, and has been expertly cleaned in our finds department. It doesn’t appear to have a pin or hinge, but it could have been attached to clothing by a ribbon. The central stone is probably agate polished into a cabochon.

Clay pipe

This clay pipe features running footballers. It was common for pipe makers in the latter half of the nineteenth century to including sporting motifs, coinciding with the rise of amateur and professional sports. Football and cricket were commonly featured.


We found this small domino while sieving the excavated topsoil, barely an inch long and made from animal bone.

We’re not sure how it came to be in the graveyard, but it's tempting to imagine a game being played out on the flat slab capping one of the high-status tombs. Others have suggested that sailors used dominoes as a form of personal accounting among their ship mates. 

Small domino piece

Clay pipe bowl

We also found this in the topsoil, a substantially complete clay pipe bowl.

The headdress and moustachios would suggest that this represented a Turk's head, a popular design in the later 19th and early 20th century.

Such pipes were made in moulds and this example retains some hand-painted details. In this case there is no evidence for sooting in the bowl, indicating that it may have suffered a mishap before it could be used.

Clay pipe bowl in the shape of a face with a headdress

Medieval floor tile fragments

These are fragments of medieval floor tiles. They have been decorated with stamp leave impressions into which very runny clay has been poured. The one on the right seems to preserve the rear end of a heraldic beast, perhaps a lion. Such tiles would have been set to form geometric patterns in parts of high status and religious buildings.

These ones may have originated from Holy Trinity Church (Hull Minster): it is said that some of the arisings from the excavation of the crypt in the 19th century were deposited at Castle Street.

Fragments of medieval floor tiles

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