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16 June 2003
Remains of child found in Yorkshire Dales ring cairn

The bones of a child, believed to have been aged four, have been found in the ring cairn at Kettlewell in the Yorkshire Dales (England). The discovery was made last week by Leeds University archaeologists, and it is the second skeleton to be unearthed at the site, the remains of the first child having been discovered last year in a stone-lined hollow—one of eight sets in the ring cairn.
     Roger Martlew, a Leeds University archaeologist lecturer who unearthed the skeletons along with a team of students, said, “It is extremely significant because it’s the first time that a site of this kind has been excavated in the Yorkshire Dales and there’s a lot of evidence to be analysed. In terms of dates the site could be a lot older than we thought.”
     Following this latest find, it is now believed the site could date back 4,000 years—a thousand years earlier than previously thought. Along with the remains were found a hairpin and pebbles, both placed deliberately close to the body’s head and feet. Dr Martlew had not expected to find the skeletons of children as it was unusual for Bronze Age ring cairns to be actual burial sites, rather than ceremonial sites.
     “We can only speculate the reasons for them being there”, Dr Martlew said. “They could have been the children of the local chieftain and there’s some evidence of disease in the first skeleton and there may be some connection. But we can’t rule out sacrifice. I think these burials were made for very significant reasons.”
     The discoveries come at the end of a two-year project that started out as a field survey of the area.

Source: Yorkshire Today (11 June 2003)

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