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76 skeletons discovered at Saxon Woolwich

Saxon remains have been found by archaeologists excavating Berkeley Homes development site on the Royal Arsenal Riverside site.

76 skeletons discovered at Saxon Woolwich
Saxon burial being excavated [Credit: South London Press]
Oxford Archaeology have uncovered evidence of nearly 3000 years of human activity on the west side of the site which in ancient times would have been a gravel peninsula surrounded by marshlands.

Surprisingly a burial site with 76 skeletons have been found which have been radio carbon dated to the late 7th or early 8th century meaning they are former inhabitants of Saxon Woolwich.

Project manager David Score said ‘It is amazing to find such a large number of relatively well preserved skeletons, despite all the later building on the site over the years. They seem to represent a mixed population with males and females, children and adults present. Only one possible knife was recorded as a probable grave deposit so it seems that the burials do represent an early Christian tradition’.

Previous excavations on adjacent sites have revealed an enormous ditch which was constructed in the late Iron Age which indicates trading with the Roman Empire across the channel.

Archaeologists have also recorded the remains of medieval houses and evidence of clay pipe manufacture in addition to remains from the Victorian gas works housed there.

Karl Whiteman, the divisional managing director for Berkeley, ‘It is incredible to see evidence from so many different time periods still in tact at Royal Arsenal Riverside. These excavations will enable us and the residents of Woolwich to get an even better understanding of what life was like here many centuries ago.”

Author: Mandy Little | Source: South London Press [October 16, 2015]

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