Statement from Professor Joy Carter, Vice-Chancellor, University of Winchester

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Statement from Professor Joy Carter, Vice-Chancellor, University of Winchester

“As Vice-Chancellor of the University of Winchester I am delighted today to be able to make the exciting announcement that will place another important piece in the jigsaw that is the hunt for the final resting place of King Alfred the Great.

King Alfred’s significance in the history of this country cannot be underestimated. He was a gifted leader, warrior, strategist, scholar and administrator. He was best known for defending Wessex against the Viking invaders, but he also laid the foundations for a unified English nation. He was above all passionate about education and learning.

Here in Winchester, capital of Wessex, Alfred’s story is hugely resonant. There have been many attempts to find and identify his final resting place over the last century and beyond, but all have proved inconclusive. The last months have seen more twists and turns in that story as we have waited with bated breath for our academics to reveal the results of their research.

The University of Winchester is an institution with a long history. We are proud to have served and worked alongside the community in Winchester since 1840, and our mission is to educate, to advance knowledge and to serve the public good. It is fitting that we were able to join forces with Hyde900, an inspirational community group, to bring to bear the academic expertise of our leading archaeology department on the search for King Alfred’s final resting place.

The exciting and important discovery of a pelvic bone belonging to either King Alfred or his son Edward is testament both to the power of academic research to reach across centuries and to the commitment of the local community.

This discovery was very much the result of a partnership with which the University is proud to be associated. Our thanks goes to all those involved in the project, including the committed members of Hyde900, Winchester City Council, the Diocese, and of course all our academic colleagues at the university whose commitment and tenacity have enabled us to reach this historic stage in the search for Alfred.

Yet today’s announcement is only the start of something even bigger – along with Hyde900 we are considering whether further excavation might be possible after appropriate consultation. “

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