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Burwell archaeological dig sees skeletons dating back thousands of years unearthed




Archaeologists at the site of a 350-home housing development in Burwell have unearthed two bronze age skeletons from the remains of a settlement which is currently being excavated in Newmarket Road.

The 6.5 hectare Millstone Park development has been placed on hold since May while a full archaeological excavation is carried out, with a growing number of artefacts being uncovered during the dig.

The two full human skeletons are among the most notable finds to date, with one being dated much earlier than the settlement at 2,000-2,500BC.

A skeleton dating back more than 4,000 years has been found at the site. Picture by Oxford Archaeology
A skeleton dating back more than 4,000 years has been found at the site. Picture by Oxford Archaeology

Examination of the male skeleton, which was found under a burial mound, showed him to be a muscular man at least in his 40s, who is believed to have been of importance.

A timber pole once marked his grave, with other timber structures in the area dating back to 1,200BC.

Excavation of the settlement is the first of two phases being carried by Oxford Archaeology East, which is being supported by Cambridgeshire County Council (CCC) and by specialist archaeological and heritage consultants Orion.

The site shows signs of a bronze age settlement dating back to 1,200BC. Picture by This-Land.
The site shows signs of a bronze age settlement dating back to 1,200BC. Picture by This-Land.

Along with the human remains, pottery, animal bones, post holes and pits have since been found, and an area identified as a cremation burial ground is yet to be excavated and examined ahead of construction of phase two of the scheme.

On completion of the fieldwork, which is scheduled to end in September, there will be a programme of post-excavation assessment and analysis of the artefacts and environmental samples which will be recorded and followed by a full publication of the results.

The information will be built into a story of the site and archived, and the artefacts will be donated to CCC and made available for public viewing.

Brenda Kibblewhite, head of sales and marketing at site developers This Land, said: “These are exciting discoveries and we are delighted with the ongoing work at this historically significant site in Burwell. It’s been fascinating to learn about the history of the site, which will provide an archival legacy of artefacts for future generations to enjoy.”

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