VIDEO: Forensic scientists exhume coffin in a bid to solve 270-year-old Lord Lovat mystery

Forensic scientists have started to exhume the contents of a coffin in a bid to solve the 270-year-old mystery about the final resting place of a Highlands clan chief.

Forensic scientist Dame Sue Black is to study what are said to be the remains of Simon Fraser, nicknamed the Old Fox, the 11th Lord Lovat.

According to the official account after being beheaded in 1747, Lord Lovat’s body was buried under the floor of a chapel at the Tower of London.

However, according to the Clan Fraser, his body was intercepted by his supporters and taken back to Scotland where it was laid to rest in his family’s mausoleum.

The Old Fox is known today by readers and TV audiences as the grandfather of Jamie Fraser – a lead character in the Outlander books and television drama.

Professor Dame Sue Black, of Dundee University, will lead the exhumation of the remains, at Wardlaw Mausoleum at Kirkhill near Beauly, Inverness.

History television presenter Dan Snow is also taking part in the exhumation.

Opening the coffin this morning, he said: “We have got the coffin open.”

Dan described Fraser at “the most famous chief of the clan Fraser in the 18th Century.”

He said: “He backed Bonnie Prince Charley at the Battle of Culloden…He was the last man beheaded for treason by the British state.”

Fraser was said to have been buried in London after his beheading, but his family always believed he was buried at the Wardlaw Mausoleum.

A video Dan posted on social media showed an exhumed ankle bone, knee, part of a pelvis and ribs.

Pathologists have also recovered the vertebrae – a major part of the puzzle as examinations of the vertebrae will show whether or nor Fraser was beheaded.

The video shows pathologist picking out the bones from the coffin inside the mausoleum.

Dan said: “We don’t know if he was beheaded or not.

“We will work out if the legend is true. We are going to solve one of the oldest mysteries… Was he buried here on in London?”