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Iron Age dig uncovers ancient skeletons in Alderney

The bodies date back to the first and second century BC and are believed to have belonged to wealthy people. Credit: David Nash

An archaeological dig in Alderney has uncovered two skeletons dating back to the first and second centuries BC.

The bodies, which were uncovered from a dig at Longis Common, were buried on top of each other. Archaeologists believe that one of the bodies, belonged to a 16-year-old, while the other was wearing bronze and iron jewellery.

Excavations at the site also uncovered jewellery and a fragment of glass dating back to Roman times.

Longis Common is thought to be the site of the largest Roman settlement in the Channel Islands. However, in 2019 archaeologists found a bronze coin which is believed to date back to the second century AD - 'considerably earlier' than other finds suggested.

Three trenches have been dug out to help experts to learn more about the settlement and the people who lived there.

Dr Jason Monaghan, who is leading the dig, says there is potentially a great deal more to uncover.

It's very rare to get this level of preservation, number of objects and deep deposits anywhere in the Channel Islands and we've got it here on Longis Common. So this dig has been really exciting and very satisfying.

I anticipated that could be here for a number of years so we are going to go away and expand the project and see what we can do in future years.

– Dr Jason Monaghan, Head of Heritage Services for the States of Guernsey

The Iron Age cemetery was initially discovered when a a digger ran into a skull while digging a trench for a utilities pipe.

Archaeologists also found a Frankish palm beaker with a Christian motif on its base. It is the first evidence of their occupation of Alderney after the Romans' departure.

The team will analyse the finds before returning them for exhibition at the Alderney Society Museum.