| 4 March 2005
Iron Age kiln found in England
Archaeologists excavating the site of road improvements at Ryton-on-Dunsmore, Warwickshire, central England, have unearthed the only complete example of an Iron Age kiln to be found in Britain.
The site was investigated on behalf of the Highways Agency as part of a £3 million road safety scheme at the junctions of the A45 and A445 roads. It yielded fragments of Neolithic and Bronze Age pottery and flint tools dating back to 3000 BCE, but the most significant find was the kiln, which may have been used to make iron tools, or jewellery. This suggests the site may have been home to a high-ranking Iron Age family, whereas previously it was believed that the area was mainly agricultural supporting small groups of farmers.
The kiln was approximately 1 metre tall by half a metre wide, and is estimated to have weighed 60kg. It had been deliberately buried. Alongside it was an iron brooch, the earliest of its type to be found in Warwickshire. Nearby was found remains of roundhouses and a crescent-shaped ditch which may have served some ritual function.
Stuart Palmer, who ran the excavation for Warwickshire Museum Archaeology Group, said "At the time people who dealt with metal work were almost considered to be like magicians because the ability to turn essentially rocks into something useful was unbelievable to them. But until now, no-one has known what the oven was used for, so this is a significant find because we have the complete structure and can work out what they did with it."
Source: icCoventry (1 March 2005)
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