Once the pagan-turned-Christian princess (615-668) became an abbess, she established the monastery at Coldingham, a village in the southeast of Scotland.

Excavators have now located a narrow, circular ditch, which is likely the "vallum," or the boundary that surrounded Aebbe's religious settlement, DigVentures, a U.K.-based group led by archaeologists and supported by crowdfunding, announced March 8.

Citizen scientists help carry out DigVentures' projects.

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"Vallums weren't necessarily deep, intimidating defensive structures but more like a symbolic marker to show that you were entering a venerated or spiritual place," Maiya Pina-Dacier, the head of community at DigVentures, told Live Science in an email.

Just outside the boundary, the excavation team made another surprising discovery: a giant pile of butchered animal bones, including those from cattle, horses, pigs, sheep, goats, domestic fowl and red deer.

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