History, Mystery

The Mystery of The Miniature Coffins

Satanic spell, superstitious charm or echo of Edinburgh’s grisly underworld history?

By National Museums Scotland | Guest Post

Satanic spell, superstitious charm or echo of Edinburgh’s grisly underworld history? We examine the theories put forward to explain the strange tale of these tiny coffins, discovered on Arthur’s Seat almost 200 years ago.

A Baffling Mystery

In late June 1836, a group of boys headed out to the slopes of Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh to hunt for rabbits. What they found there has remained a baffling mystery ever since.

In a secluded spot on the north-east side of the hill, the boys discovered a small cave in the rock, hidden behind three pointed slabs of slate. Concealed within were 17 miniature coffins.

Eight of these coffins survive to the present day, and are on display in the National Museum of Scotland. Few objects in our collection excite as much intrigue. Who made the intricate carved figures? Who did they represent? Who placed them in their secret sepulchre… and why?

Almost 200 years after their discovery, we attempt to unravel the mystery of the miniature coffins.

Via
National Museums Scotland

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