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Suspected Roman ritual pit found in Ewell dig

A suspected ritual pit from Roman times, containing a cow's skull, horse bones and possibly puppy bones, has been uncovered during an archaeological dig.

Suspected Roman ritual pit found in Ewell dig
The archaeological dig in Church Meadow, Ewell 
[Credit: Jeremy Harte]
The exciting discovery was made during a three-week dig in Church Meadow at the site of an important Roman road, Stane Street, in Ewell.

Nearby at the Roman ritual site of Hatch Furlong, archaeologists have previously excavated deep shafts containing the remains of cats and dogs.

Nikki Cowlard, site director of the Church Meadow Project, said that the Romans would not have normally thrown away horse bones.

Ms Cowlard said: "We seem to have a ritual pit. We have got a large pit, we have got bones right at the bottom and it seems they were deliberately made.

"Why they did what they did with them we are not sure."

She said the volunteers have also found other pits, possibly used for metalwork, as well as brooches, hairpins, low denomination coins, roof tiles and pottery.

She said: "We are getting all sorts of bits to get a pattern of what was happening there. This is the last season of the dig because the field is not going to be available after this."

The site will eventually be turned into a graveyard and used for burials. But until then Ms Cowlard said the church plans to allow Ewell Castle School to use the area as a training pitch.

About 90 volunteers have taken part in the three-week dig which ends on Sunday.

Children from Bourne Hall Museum Kids Club and Ewell Grove School have also visited the site. It was open to the public during the Ewell Village Fair.

Author: Alice Foster | Source: This is local London [July 18, 2014]

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