Firm is happy to support digs

Iron age skeleton
Iron age skeleton

The remains of a person, a trackway and storage pits dating from the Iron Age have been discovered at a landfill site.

An archaeological dig at the landfill site near Rushton owned by Mick George Ltd has uncovered intriguing evidence from the Iron Age period, which lasted from about 700BC to 43AD.

An initial evaluation of the land detected a double-ditched trackway and enclosure and it was decided further exploration of the site was worthwhile.

The firm agreed an official programme of investigation with the county council’s archaeological office and paid for a team from Bedfordshire-based Phoenix Consulting Archaeology Ltd to carry out more excavations throughout August and September.

The team was able to identify and map a former Iron Age settlement enclosure and various ancient trackways leading towards Storefield Lodge.

Pieces of pottery and animal bone were found close to a large number of carefully dug storage pits which were probably used as grain stores. Although it still remains a mystery as to why the 13 pits were in such a neat line.

The team also unearthed a more sinister find, a single human burial thought to date back to 2,000 years ago.

The skeletal remains are not well preserved with only the legs, pelvis, ribs and some vertebra surviving.

A digitally enhanced photograph has replaced the missing bones, providing archaeologists with a clearer image of how the skeleton would look if it were complete.

Further scientific analysis of the bones is taking place to discover the age, gender and health of the individual.

It is hoped these may give some clue as to why the burial was just one individual.

According to archaeologists, it was not uncommon practice in the Iron Age to bury the dead along and within trackside ditches, however, it is unusual to find a lone skeleton.

Phoenix Consulting Archaeology Ltd’s managing director Andy Richmond said: “These are important works which help fill in a part of the archaeological jigsaw of this part of the county.

“At present we know very little about the lone skeleton found. On-going study will allow us to glean important information such as the sex, diet, age and health of the individual, providing an important insight into the lives of the people from this period.”