Ham Hill fort dig reveals 2,500-year-old human remains
Human remains more than 2,500 years old have been found in the UK's largest Iron Age hill fort in Somerset.
Archaeologists from Cardiff and Cambridge universities began excavating Ham Hill two years ago when a trial dig revealed an Iron Age skeleton.
The latest remains have been found near the edge of the hill fort, revealing signs of violent conflict.
And other bones and skulls found in the interior section mainly belonged to young women in their 20s.
The project is in its third and final year and the excavation is due to finish in mid-September.
The dig area is in the centre of the hill fort, also known as the enclosure, and two trenches around the perimeter where there are earthen ramparts [defences].
Dr Marcus Brittain, from the Cambridge Archaeological Unit, said of the centre of the hill fort: "There's an enormous amount of bodies starting to emerge, many of which are young ladies in their 20s.
"There's a lot of human heads as well which is rather unusual - there are five so far.
"We're starting to think these bodies are associated with funerary practice but also at a particular time in the hill fort's history when conflict was rife.
"It was gruesome to imagine that people would have had daily, probably unavoidable contact with the remains of the dead - quite possibly of friends and family members."
The remains were excavated from grain pits but are not thought to be complete skeletons.
Other remains were found near the ramparts.
The ramparts date back to about 1,000BC, but archaeologists have dug back to the layer which equates to 100BC, when the Romans first started invading Britain.
"The human remains which we are starting to find, they've got cut marks.
"They're very fine cut marks but it is potentially illustrating that there has been some unpleasant and violent conflict in that transitional period between the inhabitants and perhaps the incoming Romans," Dr Brittain said.
They have also found metal arrowheads and body armour dating back to Roman times.
Once the dig is complete, the human remains will be taken to the Cambridge Archaeological Unit for further research.
An open day for the site is planned for 7 September
Also of course Past Horizons.....
Posted by moss
3rd September 2013ce
Edited 3rd September 2013ce