HUMAN remains have been uncovered inside York Minster.

Archaeologists at York Minster came face-to-face with one of the cathedral’s ancient users during routine work to build a lift shaft into the Minster’s Undercroft.

It is the first time in 40 years that excavation work has been carried out inside the building, and the first find by members of York Archaeological Trust’s was human remains thought to pre-date the Minster in its present form.

Members of the trust said they could only speculate about the age of the body.

But as its resting place has been undisturbed for hundreds of years it is thought it could date at least from the 12th century.

The Very Rev Keith Jones, Dean of York, says he hoped the discovery would provide new insights into the earliest years of York Minster’s history.

“I feel sure that archaeologists are likely to encounter even more human burials during their three-week tenure.

“We would expect to find, when working at York Minster, evidence of previous life all around the place.”

Excavation can only take place in exceptional circumstances at the Minster, but work on the Undercroft lift, as part of York Minster Revealed, has allowed this opportunity for archaeologists.

Over the next two weeks, visitors will have a rare opportunity to peer down into the lift shaft and see the archaeologists at work. “Having found the remains of our forebears, they will be reverently cared for until such time as they can be reinterred with the walls of York Minster,” said the Dean.