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Prehistoric burial ground unearthed at UK army base


Prehistoric remains have been unearthed in at Larkhill Garrison. The finds were uncovered at the Royal School of Artillery in Larkhill, where the majority of Army Basing Programme construction work is underway. Three prehistoric burials were found at the site of a new sports pitch.

Prehistoric burial ground unearthed at UK army base
Prone inhumation found at Larkhill Barracks, Bronze Age 
[Credit: Wessex Archaeology]
Prior to work starting at the pitch, Wessex Archaeology was commissioned by Aspire Defence Capital Works (ADCW), who are building regimental headquarters and other facilities as part of the Army Basing Programme, to evaluate the site. 

Six trenches were excavated and revealed archaeological features cut into the natural chalk geology, ranging in date from the prehistoric period through to the Second World War.

Ruth Panes, the project manager for Wessex Archaeology, said: “Of the three burials, one was an infant and the other has been identified through osteological assessment as a teenage male aged 15 to 17.

Prehistoric burial ground unearthed at UK army base
Infant burial found at Larkhill Barracks, Bronze Age 
[Credit: Wessex Archaeology]
"He would have been robust in appearance and his remains contained no obvious signs of pathology. The infant had been placed into a grave in an existing ditch and buried. Over time, the ditch gradually silted up and sealed the grave.

"Prehistoric pottery was found in the ditch fill which sealed the grave, which suggests the burial is also prehistoric. One body was placed in a crouched position and we know such burials typically date between 2400 to 1600 BC.”

Other finds at Larkhill Garrison included prehistoric pits and ditches, worked flint, five military air raid trenches dug in a zig zag formation and the foundations of three military buildings thought to date from the Second World War.

Prehistoric burial ground unearthed at UK army base
Crouched inhumation found at Larkhill Barracks, Bronze Age 
[Credit: Wessex Archaeology]
An arrangement of eight potholes was also recorded, providing evidence for a prehistoric roundhouse measuring 4m in diameter.

Ruth added: "A large number of tree-throw holes are present in the area. These hollows form when trees have fallen, rotted or been removed, indicating that the site would have been covered by woodland in the past.”


Richard Tindal, Project Director Larkhill (ADCW), said: “Sustainability is at the heart of the project and minimising the impact of construction works is a priority. This includes liaising closely with our archaeology partners, to ensure any artefacts located under groundworks making way for new buildings and facilities are properly documented and preserved.”

Source: Salisbury Journal [October 17, 2017]
TANN

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