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The skeletal remains of a man alleged to be a pirate executed in the 16th century and buried under a primary school playground may be the remains of a 16th century pirate .

It is believed that the skeleton belongs to a man who could have been executed for piracy or other crimes before being buried in a shallow, unmarked grave.

The bones were found by council workers during survey work for an extension at Victoria Primary School in Newhaven, Edinburgh.

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Skeletal remains of the pirate

Experts dated the bones to the 16th or 17th centuries and, working with forensic artist Hayley Fisher, created a facial reconstruction of the man, thought to have been in his fifties.

The school, the city’s oldest working primary, is located near Newhaven harbour where a gibbet once stood on the dockyards 600 years ago.

It is believed that the man could have been executed for piracy or other crimes before being buried in a shallow, unmarked grave.

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Archaeologists said the condition of the bones and location of the burial close to the sea and gibbet, rather than at one of three nearby graveyards suggests the man was killed before being displayed as a warning to other pirates.

Head teacher, Laura Thompson, of Victoria Primary School in Newhaven, Edinburgh where a skeleton was found, said: “The pupils think it’s fantastic that a skeleton was found deep underneath their playground.

“The archaeologists will hold a special lesson with some of the children about how they have used science to analyse the remains and it will be a good learning opportunity for them.”

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