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Archaeo News 

8 August 2009
Bronze Age burials eroding in Northumberland

An amateur archaeologist, Jim Nesbitt, has discovered that coastline erosion at Low Hauxley (Northumberland, England) has caused a cist containing cremated human bone to be eroded from the cliff face close to where an earlier stone lined cist burial had been discovered. A cist is best described as a stone-lined burial chamber which, in this case, contained cremated human remains. He contacted Archaeological Research Services but by the time archaeologists arrived on the site, rising tides had already removed some of the stones from the front of the burial box. It appeared as a stone built box in the cliff face and was at risk of complete destruction.
     Once excavated, the small cist box was found to contain fragments of human bone as well as a layer of cremation debris at its base. A second cremation was found nearby and was also being eroded. It contained a number of burnt human bone fragments as well as the remains of a broken pottery vessel. Both features were carefully excavated, photographed, drawn and recorded and the finds were carefully packaged to avoid damage.
     The high quality of the archaeology found at Low Hauxley, along with the damage that it had already sustained, highlights the impact that coastline erosion is having on such sites. The erosion does not always allow adequate time for the recovery and recording of archaeological sites. The North East coast, in particular, has a high number of sites that are being threatened.

Source: The Ambler Online (7 August 2009)

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