Skeletons uncovered at nature reserve

Cotswold Journal: (5856440) (5856440)

SIGNIFICANT archaeological remains from the Iron Age including two human skeletons have been uncovered just outside Bourton.

The discovery was made at Gloucestershire Wildlife Trusts’ Greystones Farm nature reserve by Cotswold Archeology which excavated an area of the farmyard in preparation for a new farm building.

The nature reserve on the outskirts of the village is home to Salmonsbury Camp, a scheduled ancient monument, and is the only lowland example of a large multivallate hill fort in England.

A possible roundhouse and a series of large pits that had probably been used to store grain have been uncovered along with crouched human burials which had been deliberately placed in two of the pits, a tradition that is commonly encountered throughout the Iron Age.

These latest works are the first major excavations at Salmonsbury Camp since the 1930 when a late Iron Age date for the hill fort was established.

Tom Beasley-Suffolk, Reserves Manager for the Cotswolds, said: "It has been fascinating to see what were slightly dark areas of ground be excavated to reveal pot and human remains that probably last saw the light of day 2,500 years ago.

"The finds will be cleaned up and analysed by Cotswold Archeology, to build a picture about our Iron Age ancestors at Greystones Farm nature reserve."

The pottery recovered during the works also suggests this activity is dated to the middle Iron Age, and therefore predates the construction of the hill fort by at least 100 years.

The reserve, which is the Trusts’ only working farm in the county, is managed for both wildlife and its historical importance as well as being a working farm.

"This will add to The Trusts’ ambitions to tell the story of Salmonsbury's rich heritage to residents, schools and visitors," added Mr Beasley-Suffolk, "Which may even include the construction of a roundhouse."

Meanwhile, tests are still being carried out to determine the age and cause of death of an Iron Age man found near The Horse and Groom pub, Bourton-on-the-Hill.

Last November, a series of medieval walls with 10 rooms arranged around a courtyard was unearthed in what is thought to be a sheep farm complex.

And further excavation uncovered a skeleton dating back to 100BC buried in the foetal position about two metres below the surface.

The exciting discovery was made when an archaeological dig was carried out on the site in preparation for a much-needed larger car park.

TomGreenstock, who co-owns the pub with his brother Will, said they were optimistic work on the new facility would start towards the end of the summer.

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