|25 June 2005
Iron Age settlement found at an English farm
Archaeologists have uncovered an Iron Age settlement near Cheltenham (Gloucestershire, England). The dig, at Deans Farm, Bishops Cleeve, has revealed two round houses, two burial sites and a large number of animal bones. Experts from Birmingham believe it was the site of a farming community in 500 BCE which continued through Roman occupation and beyond. The area, said to be the size of four football pitches, will eventually become a new housing estate.
Team leader Kevin Coles said: "Effectively, we've got a prehistoric settlement site, starting off from the mid Iron Age progressing through to the invasion of the Romans, 43 CE. "We're finding a large amount of animal bones so that suggests what these people were eating. We've got also got dating evidence in terms of pottery."
Richard Cuttler, from the team from Birmingham Archaeology, added: "One of the individuals buried was found within a square of nails, suggesting he or she was originally in a coffin. This person was particularly tall for that period, around 5ft 11in to 6ft. The burials have been carefully excavated and will be studied in more depth by specialists at the university."
The site was discovered in 1999 by Gloucestershire County Council, before outline planning was granted. This established that there was a mid-to-late Iron Age presence on the land. County council senior archaeological officer Charles Parry said the discovery will offers for the first time an opportunity to investigate an Iron Age settlement in its entirety. The finds are being bagged and sent off for further analysis.
Sources: BBC News (24 June 2005), Western Daily Press (25 June 2005)
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