Plans to create a crypt to house thousands of human remains inside an Aberdeen kirk have been given the go-ahead.
In 2006 around 2,000 skeletal remains, including 930 full skeletons, were excavated in the foundations of East Kirk at St Nicholas Kirkyard, also known as the Mither Kirk.
City planners have approved proposals to build a new crypt on the floor of the East Kirk.
The ambitious plans form part of a wider £5 million redevelopment of the site, which will eventually see four floors created.
The OpenSpace Trust was established to transform the Mither Kirk into a new community space that will celebrate the Granite City’s history.
It owns the East Kirk, while Aberdeen City Council owns the kirkyard and the Church of Scotland owns the West Kirk.
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Evening Express newsletter
Dr Arthur Winfield, project leader of the Mither Kirk Project, said they were “delighted” by the approval.
He added: “We already have the building warrant, so we should be moving ahead fairly quickly to get the actual construction work undertaken.”
In their report, planners said the application should be approved to allow the remains to be re-interred, adding that this wouldn’t negatively effect the historic fabric or character of the building, nor its potential future refurbishment.
It added: “The proposed works are required to provide a secure burial crypt chamber within the building, allowing for skeletal remains to be reburied in their original resting place, while also allowing the remains to be easily accessed again in future for scientific research purposes.”
The remains are housed by the council but there are no records of the people buried and any records that are held cannot be matched as the kirk has changed over the years.
City archaeologist Ali Cameron and a team of 100, including students, uncovered the bodies, some of which still had fingernails and hair.
Dating from the 1100s to the 18th Century, the remains had been buried on the site of the original church, which had then been expanded over the years.
They found the remains of 25 children close to the East Kirk with their graves marked with mussel shells.
The crypt would measure 7.7m by 3m and would be finished with a timber roof, which would double as the new ground floor level of the building once refurbished.
At the request of the council’s archaeologist, a planning condition has been included that protective fencing be erected prior to any construction work beginning.