Ancient cremated bodies found in field

Archaeologists digging in Cawston have described the discovery of the remains of two cremated bodies dating back some 2,000 years as a major find.

Excavation work underway to uncover an Iron Age settlement off Calvestone Road, Cawston [Credit: Rugby Observer]
Land on Calvestone Road set for a development of 129 houses by Redrow Homes is currently the subject of an archaeological dig due to its historical significance.

Until recently the dig, running until March, had uncovered only rocks and slate objects believed to date back 4,000 years to the Neolithic Age, along with evidence of ridge and furrow land used in ancient farming.

But this week saw the uncovering of bone fragments and other evidence of two cremation burials believed to date from the Iron Age.

The bodies were not intact as they were laying in sand which does not preserve bone well, but project officer for Cotswold Archaeology, Vasileios Tsamis, said it was by far the most important discovery made by his team.

"It's definitely the most significant thing we've found so far. It's a really interesting find and points to the possibility of a farming community," Mr Tsamis told The Observer.

"We have also found evidence of farmland and rocks going back as far as 4,000 years, so we're talking about some really old things here.

"A lot of the land is sandy ground in which organic material doesn't survive, so we're not sure what else we'll find down there. We will just have to wait and see."

A piece of Iron Age pottery unearthed in Cawston [Credit: Rugby Observer]
The remains will be removed from the site for testing alongside the other objects recovered by the archaeology team.

Mr Tsamis said he and his colleagues believed the site was likely to have once been an ancient farmstead.

The discovery has created a buzz in Cawston according to Coun Mike Stokes who said nearby schools were keen to pay a visit to the dig.

He added: "This site was previously highlighted as having an archaeological interest and I understand that after some investigation, this status was removed, so it is very interesting these bodies have been found and I know the local schools are discussing the find.

"It was inevitable development would take place on this land and Redrow have been very good at communicating with the local authority, myself and fellow councillors."

Arguably the most famous archaeological find in the borough is the ancient Roman town of Tripontium. First unearthed in 1961 by the Rugby Archaeological Society, it is located some three miles north east of the town and was believed to have been inhabited for around 400 years.

Author: Dan Santy | Source: The Rugby Observer [February 08, 2012]

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