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27 December 2008
Bronze Age burial unearthed in Cambridgeshire

March's most earliest settlers (Cambrisgeshire, England) possibly performed gruesome funeral rituals, according to exciting and rare evidence found by archaeologists excavating the town's new highway site. The finds, which date between 2000 BCE and 700 BCE, suggest various burial rituals took place on the site.  Evidence of these rituals have been found including burial platforms possibly used for excarnation this is where the flesh from bodies was taken from the bones either by nature or hand.
     Archaeologists digging on the site were surprised to find evidence of the Bronze Age funeral monument, which includes cremations and burial pyres placed around a large watering hole. The site is very rare and of great interest and will provide invaluable information. The large pond/watering hole contained rare Bronze Age wood which has survived due to waterlogging. It is hoped further tests will get palaeoenvironmental information (ancient pollen and seeds) which will tell archaeologists more of life in March over 3,000 years ago. The remains of a Bronze Age field system has also been found.
     The dig is part of works being carried out for the building of a new purpose-built highway depot for Cambs County Council. Stephen Macauley, Oxford Archaeology East Project Manager, said: "The use of these funeral rituals, although gruesome in our 21st century eyes, was not unusual at the time. We can see that even in those times the area was used for agriculture, although it is worth remembering that in the Bronze Age the sea was only a few miles to the north, so they were living in a very different landscape to the one we see today.  All in all this is a fascinating insight into March during the Bronze Age and we hope that the findings will be published as soon as we have finished our post-excavation work."

Source: Fenland Citizen (25 December 2008)

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