Bronze Age burial site discovered during excavation of prehistoric settlement in Dorset

  • Watch archaeologists discover Bronze Age human remains during an excavation

Archaeology students from Bournemouth University have discovered a Bronze Age burial site during an excavation of a prehistoric settlement in Dorset.

It is the first time Bronze Age bones have been discovered on the site in Winterborne Kingston, where the university’s Department of Archaeology and Anthropology has been excavating settlements from the Iron Age for nearly fifteen years.

The settlements, which were inhabited by the Durotriges tribe, date back to around 100 BC although the Bronze Age began around 2000 years before.

Bronze Age bones discovered on the site in Winterborne Kingston Credit: Bournemouth University

Dr Miles Russell, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology and Head of Fieldwork at Bournemouth University says “This year we have found an adult male in a very tightly packed grave alongside lots of collared urns which is very distinctive of the end of the Neolithic period and the beginning of the Early Bronze Age, so it’s about 4000 years old.

"This is giving us the idea that people have been living here for a significant period of time. It’s not just the period just before the Romans arrived, they were farming this landscape, growing crops and burying their dead at least four millennia ago."

During the past five weeks, the team of 110 students, staff and volunteers from Bournemouth University have also uncovered the buried remains of five people from the Iron Age, as well as bones from animals including cattle, horse, piglets, and goats in ancient storage pits on the site.

Bronze age remains discovered by students from Bournemouth University Credit: Bournemouth University

As well as the skeletons, the team have also uncovered a variety of everyday items used by the Durotriges tribe two thousand years ago, such as ceramic pots, jewellery, and a workers’ tools - including weaving combs made from deer antler.

The discoveries are providing new insights into the lifestyle of our ancestors and helping to rewrite British prehistory.

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