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11 June 2004
Neolithic remains found at bypass site

Vital clues into how ancient Britons lived thousands of years ago have been unearthed on a bypass site. Among the items uncovered along the A142 between Newmarket and Fordham (Cambridgeshire, England) include skeletons from the Bronze Age and Iron Age, along with a body from Roman times. Flints and pottery, buried since the Neolithic period around 4,500 years ago, have also been discovered, and will now be cleaned and carefully examined to help experts learn more about the history of East Anglia's ancestors.
     "It is very exciting. We have found an awful lot of archaeology in general at the Fordham bypass site," said Richard Mortimer, project officer at Cambridgeshire County Council's archaeology field unit. "We found skeletons from the Bronze Age and Iron Age, along with a Roman skeleton and some lovely other pieces, such as flints and pottery. We have also found large, pit-like shafts and a couple of Roman roads all manner of things which are very rich and very prehistoric. Finding skeletons is not that unusual, but to find the amount of pieces we did, from difference periods but all in the same place, is very rare.
     One of the skeletons dates back around 6,000 years, and coincides with the birth of farming. "This is the first evidence of people settling down and becoming more sedentary, after we had stopped being hunter-gatherers," added Mr Mortimer. The pieces will be sent away to specialists and cleaned, which will take up to a year.
     The team were asked to move onto the site before work begins on the Fordham bypass scheme in July. They then spent around 12 weeks painstakingly clearing the area, using pick axes and shovels, before uncovering all the archaeological gems the site has to offer.

Source: East Anglian Daily Times (11 June 2004)

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