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28 August 2005
Prehistoric remains discovered in south Wales

Students from Lancashire discovered 5,000-year-old human remains on an archaeological dig in south Wales. The remains of seven humans were found in a large pit in the mouth of a cave on the Goldsland Wood site, near Wenvoe, in the Vale of Glamorgan. Archaeology students from the University of Central Lancashire, in Preston, had been digging there as part of their course. The pottery and flint blades found with them date the remains to about 3000 BCE.      
     "The Goldsland caves have never been excavated before," said Dr Rick Peterson, the course leader. "We went there hoping to find undisturbed evidence for whatever ritual took place 5000 years ago that led to peoples' bones being put in caves and we seem to have found it. At the moment our understanding of these rituals is that first the large pit was dug, probably to make the small cave mouth look much bigger and more impressive. Then the dead were placed in the pit with some of their possessions such as pottery and stone tools. Then once the bodies had become skeletons it seems that most of the bones were then moved to other ritual sites, like the nearby chambered tomb of St Lythans. The pit containing the ash from a cremation is evidence for a different sort of rite - although it probably took place around the same time."
     The team plan to return to the site in 2006 and excavate a much larger area.

Source: BBC News (25 August 2005)

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