Bronze Age skeleton is dug up in quarry
By Jonny Muir
ARCHAEOLOGISTS believe they may have unearthed a Bronze Age cemetery near Peterborough after digging up the remains of a 3,500 year-old skeleton.
Experts who made the find at Bardon Aggregates' Pode Hole Farm quarry in Thorney, near Peterborough, say they expect to come across further burial sites as excavations continue.
The skeleton, which is thought to date from the middle to late Bronze Age, was uncovered by Milton Keynes-based Phoenix Consulting Archaeology Limited, during routine excavation work.
Lead archaeologist Dr Andrew Richmond said: "We have been excavating for seven years and have found Bronze Age remains, but this is the first body. I don't think it will be the last.
"It is clear from aerial photographs showing crop marks that the area includes potential burial grounds.
"The discovery of the whole skeleton is significant because we are able to build up a picture of the landscape and the economy of the Bronze Age.
"It had been preserved so well, thanks to the moisture in the soil around the burial.
"Our work on site will continue this year, and, when it is complete, the skeletons and any other finds will be sent for testing to determine age, sex, diet, disease and dental information."
Dr Richmond said almost all of the skeleton's head was missing because it would have been damaged by centuries of ploughing.
Pode Hole's quarry manager Fred Dooris, said: "The discovery is very exciting. There have been a number of
excavations around the quarry with items such as Bronze Age axes, palstaves, spear heads and an anvil all being found close to the area.
"Items such as the skeleton and the community's work tools give us a unique insight into the lives of our ancestors."
The find also bolsters the reputation of Peterborough's Bronze Age history.
General manager of Flag Fen Bronze Age Centre Georgia Butters said: "Every find adds to our understanding of the Bronze Age in Peterborough, and helps to confirm this is a rich archaeological landscape.
"The remains are not obvious such as Stonehenge, but are equally important in terms of our ancestors' history.
"At Flag Fen, only five per cent of the site has been excavated. The rest is under the surface.
"While Flag Fen shows the ceremonial aspects of the people who once lived in this area, digs like the one at Pode Hole show the domestic side."
Last Updated: 31 July 2007 12:11 PM
Monday, 23 July 2007 – For immediate release
Archaeologists Search for Remains of Allied Victory
Almost 90 years after the start of the 1917 Battle of Passchendaele (3rd Ypres), a team of archaeologists and historians is returning to the battlefields of the Western Front to search for traces of soldiers who fought in the lesser-known battle that preceded it; lesser known in spite of it being a total victory.
From 30th July – 3rd August archaeologists Martin Brown and Richard Osgood, will lead an international archaeological team excavating Allied and German trenches near the Belgian town of Ypres, scene of some of the bloodiest battles of the First World War. The team has spent more than two years studying the formation and training of the Australian 3rd Division in England, and now wants to follow the exploits of the division during its first days of fighting, at the Battle of Messines in June 1917. The Battle of Messines was fought near the town of Ypres, and is considered one of the great Allied victories of the war.
This dig aims to dispel the myth that untrained soldiers were sent ‘Over the top’ to almost certain death by stupid Generals ignorant of the conditions of modern warfare. The fact that Messines, one of the first ‘all arms’ battles using air power, tanks, artillery, infantry and huge mines, was such a success bears testament that good planning could lead to spectacular gains, gains which were part of the ultimate allied victory.
The work will reveal much about the lives of the common soldier in the frontline and their roles in combat. It should also illustrate the effectiveness of their training in the UK beforehand.
This excavation work is being undertaken by a mix of professional and amateur archaeologists from the UK, Australia, Germany, Italy, America and Belgium. Martin Brown and Richard Osgood are archaeologists with No-Man’s-Land archaeology.
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