The Mysterious Coffins Of Arthur’s Seat

Eight years after the “Anatomy Murderers” by Burke and Hare, who were apprehended in Edinburgh, Scotland, two boys discovered sixteen tiny dolls, each nested into a miniature coffin hidden away in a rocky niche. In June 1836 the boys were hunting rabbits on the north-eastern slopes of Arthur’s Seat, the main peak in the group of hills in the center of Edinburgh. The miniature coffins carved in pine and decorated with tinned iron. Carefully arranged in a three-tiered stack, each coffin contained a small wooden figure with painted black boots and individually crafted clothing.
At first, theories on the dolls significance ranged from witchcraft to child’s toys, but eventually it began to seem that the sixteen tiny figures were most likely effigies for the sixteen murder victims of Burke and Hare made by Burke himself.
The miniature dolls and coffins were in the hands of a private collector until 1901, when eight of them were handed over to the National Museums Scotland.

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