Archaeologists excavating a medieval site on a tiny islet in the English Channel were baffled by the discovery of a dolphin skeleton in what appears to be a carefully prepared grave.The researchers first thought they had discovered a human grave, cut into the bedrock of the islet of Chapelle Dom Hue, about 900 feet (300 meters) off the west coast of Guernsey, one of the largest Channel Islands.Voiceover: Calendars used during the Middle Ages were very different from the simple calendars we use today. This column lists the Saints commemorated, or the feast celebrated, on any given day of the month.In the Middle Ages, people experienced time very differently. Especially important Saints Days or holidays were written in red; this explains the phrase, "A red letter day." This calendar page shows the month of January.For those who could decipher it, the medieval calendar was a map of the Church Year. The Roman numerals that you see in this column were called the Golden Numbers. Each letter always represents the same day of the week, Sunday through Monday.
It was also common to include and image of each month's sign of the zodiac. They illustrated information in the text, and expanded upon it.Some medieval calendars received lavish illustration. In this highly decorated calendar page for the month of June, the red letter days correspond to the scenes in the border.For example, this feast day celebrates the Nativity of John the Baptist.[The 25 Most Mysterious Archaeological Finds on Earth] "The big puzzle from an archaeological point of view is that it really does look like a grave cut for a human — exactly like we would find in a medieval cemetery," De Jersey told Live Science.
"So, it was a bit of a surprise to start excavating it and find a sea creature in there instead." De Jersey added that he hasn't heard of any similar archaeological findings, saying, "It’s just a strange thing to do, and it would have taken a lot of effort." The dolphin remains were found in the last few days of a three-week excavation of Chapelle Dom Hue by De Jersey and his colleagues from the States of Guernsey archaeology team.
The illustration shows his mother, Saint Elizabeth, just after giving birth to her son.