Find the burial site for the 130-year-old Kingswood circus elephant

A circus elephant is next to a man in a cap

Archaeologists are attempting to locate the grave of a circus elephant who is believed to have been interred more than 130 years ago in a village in England.

Nancy the animal may have been interred in 1891 in Kingswood, South Gloucestershire.

The elephant was a component of the traveling "beast show" by Bostock and Wombwell.

Wessex Archaeology's Tom Richardson, an archaeologist, stated: "Looking for Victorian elephant burials isn't our usual fare. " .

East Bristol's urban area now includes Kingswood.

Wessex Archaeology is conducting a geophysical survey to locate the burial site, which is thought to be close to Holy Trinity Church or Whitefield's Tabernacle.

South Gloucestershire Council has hired the team to locate the site as part of a regeneration initiative.

A grave that big would leave a big hole, and the ground-penetrating radar equipment we'll be using to survey the site would definitely be able to find it, Mr. Richardson continued. ".

The elephant is rumored to have perished from yew leaf poisoning, despite the absence of any historical sources that mention the death.

The Kingswood Museum's Alan Bryant said: "I first learned about the Kingswood elephant burial in the 1970s while working as a neighborhood milkman.

Since then, I've discussed it in a ton of conversations and arguments with locals.

"I, for one, am thrilled about the possibility of finding the fabled Kingswood elephant burial. ".

The Bristol Mercury, a local newspaper, reported in February 1891 that Bostock's Star Menagerie had displayed close by, and that the exhibit featured Nancy, a "fine nine-year-old elephant.".

Men walking down the street leading an elephant in a procession
The elephant was a traveling exhibit from a "beast show.".

"This initial archaeological investigation aims to locate the elephant burial, but should we do so, you may be surprised at what we could learn about this animal's life from studying its skeletal remains," said Lorrain Higbee, zooarchaeologist at Wessex Archaeology.

"In the case of a menagerie elephant, in addition to knowing the animal's origin and age, we may be able to see the effects of its life as an performer.

"This could include signs of confinement like arthritis or wounds from shackling the animal.

Injuries or strains brought on by the performance of duties, such as repetitive movements, may also be detectable. ".

South Gloucestershire Council's Cllr. Chris Willmore said: "Our work on the Kingswood regeneration project has given us a special opportunity prior to the high street pedestrianization work.

"We're eager to find out what the archaeologists may find and whether they can finally solve this local mystery or help us discover some new mysteries to solve.

. "

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