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Remains found on Isle of Wight beach belong to Iron Age woman

When human remains were discovered on an Isle of Wight beach last year it sparked a police investigation — but nearly 15 months after the find, a coroner’s inquiry has confirmed the skeleton was nearly 2,000 years old.

Remains found on Isle of Wight beach belong to Iron Age woman
The Iron Age remains found at Fishbourne
[Credit: Isle of Wight Coroner]
Isle of Wight coroner Caroline Sumeray ordered carbon dating after a Home Office pathologist was unable to find a cause of death and concluded the bones were probably ancient.

The almost complete Iron Age skeleton was found on March 9 last year by brothers Hubert and Graham Smyth on an area of their privately owned foreshore.

When police removed the skeleton from its foetal position in the silt it was found that the skull was largely complete, most of the other bones were present and there was evidence that the elderly woman suffered from a withered left arm.

The coroner’s investigation centred on whether the woman had died recently, whether the bones were from a long washed-away graveyard attached to the nearby Quarr Abbey, or if they were older than that.

After consulting the Ministry of Justice, Island coroner Caroline Sumeray decided the remains should form part of the Isle of Wight Council’s archaeology collection where they will be appropriately and ethically stored.

Mrs Sumeray said: "I am not sure why radio carbon dating took so long to be completed, but the result that the lady’s remains dated from AD 28 to AD 90 stunned me. I think the best place for her is to be part of the Isle of Wight Council’s archaeological collection."

Author: Richard Wright | Source: Isle of Wight County Press [June 01, 2016]

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