Iron Age skeleton found during Wessex Water main laying
Ancient skeletons have been discovered while Wessex Water has been laying a new water main in Wiltshire as part of its £200M water supply grid scheme. While working in fields along the A303 near West Knoyle, archaeological staff from AC Archaeology discovered four human skeletons that are believed to date back to early Iron Age and Saxon periods.
The Iron Age burial is thought to be that of an adult female who was found with her feet chopped off, which were re-buried alongside her along with carcasses of at least two sheep or goats on her head.
Two of the other three burials, all male, were found with sword wounds to their hips and the fourth grave contained the remains of a ten-year old.
The bones have been carefully removed from the ground and will be cleaned and catalogued before undergoing radiocarbon testing to determine the date at the time of burial.
Davin Eversett, a Wessex Water project manager for the scheme, said: “We are committed to building our infrastructure in an environmentally friendly way. In order to achieve this we are working with archaeologists along every significant part of the pipeline’s route to ensure that the past is protected.”
Peter Cox, director of AC Archaeology, which was commissioned by Wessex Water, said: “Human remains from these periods are very rare and indicate the long period of settlement that has occurred in the area.
“We’re unsure why the female skeleton has been found without her feet or why she may have been buried with sheep, but it must have some link to people’s beliefs at the time and perhaps to protecting her soul from bad spirits.”
Wessex Water's water supply grid scheme comprises 20 individual projects across Wiltshire, Dorset and Somerset to move water around its region and safeguard customer supplies for the future.
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