Photos: Scottish Church Once Imprisoned Accused Witches
A 15th-century Scottish chapel in Aberdeen was used as a prison for accused witches during the "Great Witch Hunt" in 1597, according to historians. During Aberdeen's "Great Witch Hunt," 23 women and one man were accused of witchcraft, put on trials and then executed.
This photo shows the Kirk of St Nicholas, with the West Kirk in front of the East Kirk and St Mary's Chapel. [Read full story about the "witch prison" in the Scottish church]
This iron ring, set in a stone pillar of a chapel in St Nicholas Kirk in Aberdeen, was used to imprison accused witches during the "Great Witch Hunt" of 1597.
Archaeological excavations in the East Kirk of St Nicholas in 2006 and 2007 uncovered the remains of more than 2,000 individuals, some buried as long ago as the 11th century.
The remains of more than 2,000 people, including 1,000 entire skeletons, were found during archaeological excacations of the church. Historians said most of the bodies were likely buried before the 1560s.
An 1868 drawing of the former prison for witches, St Mary's Chapel, after it was restored to religious use.
St Mary's Chapel at the Kirk of St Nicholas in Aberdeen today.
East Kirk of St Nicholas
The East Kirk of St Nicholas from the south. St Mary's Chapel is beneath the floor level of the main church at the right of this image.
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Tom Metcalfe is a freelance journalist and regular Live Science contributor who is based in London in the United Kingdom. Tom writes mainly about science, space, archaeology, the Earth and the oceans. He has also written for the BBC, NBC News, National Geographic, Scientific American, Air & Space, and many others.
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