Tuesday, 9 February 2016

A badger uncovers ​'exciting' Bronze Age cremation site near Stonehenge

An 'exciting' Bronze Age cremation site near Stonehenge has been uncovered - by a badger. (Western Daily Press)

Artefacts dating from 2,200 - 2,000 BC have been found, including an archer's wrist guard, copper chisel, bronze saw and cremated human remains.
They were discovered after badgers dug into an ancient burial mound on land belonging to the Ministry of Defence at Netheravon, Wilts., around five miles north of Stonehenge. 

Richard Osgood, senior archaeologist from the MOD's Defence Infrastructure Organisation, said the burial site was "an exciting find". 

He said: "It was utterly unexpected. These are wonderful artefacts from the early Bronze Age, about 2,200-2,000 BC. 

"There are badger setts in quite a few scheduled monuments - the actions of burrowing animals is one of the biggest risks to archaeology in Britain - but to bring out items of this quality from one hole is unusual. 

"We would never have known these objects were in there, so there's a small part of me that is quite pleased the badger did this... but it probably would have been better that these things had stayed within the monument where they'd resided for 4,000 years." 

The items were spotted after a badger dug up a cremation urn and had left sherds of pottery lying on the ground. 

A full archaeological dig has now been carried out on the site which was excavated with the help of injured military personnel and veterans. 

During the dig, shaft straighteners for straightening arrows and pieces of pottery were also found. 

Wiltshire has been an area of discovery for a number of other ancient finds, including 27 bodies found by soldiers, a 6,000-year-old encampment and Bronze Age jewellery. 

The items dug up by the badger will go on display at Wiltshire Museum in Devizes later this year.
Read the full story in the excellent Western Daily Press

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