Bronze Age Infant's Skull Unearthed At School Dig
From the Wokingham Times 20.2.03
By Ricky Hindmarsh
A fragment of an infant's skull has been found near pig bones on a primary school playing field in Winnersh earmarked for a housing development. Experts believe the skull could be part of a much wider Bronze Age burial ground.The unusual historical relic surprised archaeologists who say it is unusual to find human and animal bones together.Police and the coroner's office have not been officially informed of the find which was made in February last year.
Details have only now been made public.
Initial evidence points to the remains being more than 100 years old.
A process called Carbon 14 dating is being used to determine the exact date, but a Bronze Age burial site found in the 1960s, just 100 yards away, suggests it could be a small satellite addition to the central site. Now Kev Beachus, senior archaeologist at BABTIE, Wokingham District Council's highways consultants which surveys all large building applications, says the top-soil will have to be stripped off to search for the rest of the skeleton to comply with the letter of the law. There is no evidence of foul play and a thickening of the two-inch piece of skull suggests that death could have been caused by meningitis, it is thought.
Mr Beachus, who is unable to speculate on how the bone came to rest with the pig remains, said too little was known about Bronze Age settlements to be entirely sure of what else could be found.
He said: "Finding the infant's skull with the pig bones did lead us to think of some terrible things, but it was found separately in the same ditch we were digging. It is unusual and in my 15 years I have never come across anything like this. In law, human remains have to be found 'in totum', which is why I will insist that further work be done."
When the topsoil is peeled off, which could take about six weeks, the site will be opened to the public for one day only...
Posted by Rhiannon
20th February 2003ce
Edited 15th February 2006ce