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Archaeologists have discovered 81 “extremely rare” tree-trunk coffins at a “previously unknown” early Christian Anglo-Saxon community’s cemetery.

saxon-grave

Historic England believes the finds will “advance our understanding of Middle-Saxon religious beliefs”

Found at Great Ryburgh in Norfolk, their “remarkable preservation” was due to the waterlogged conditions of the river valley.

The Historic England excavation was carried out ahead of the construction of a lake and flood defence system.

Chief executive Duncan Wilson said the graves were “a significant discovery”.

Anglo-Saxon coffins seldom survive because wood decays over time.

James Fairclough, an archaeologist from the Museum of London Archaeology which led the dig, said: “The combination of acidic sand and alkaline water created the perfect conditions for the skeletons and wooden graves to survive, revealing remarkable details of Christian Anglo-Saxon burial practices.”

Archaeologist Matt Champion made the initial discovery.

Landowner Gary Boyce had asked him to put in trial trenches ahead of the planning application for the lake and flood defence system. These revealed high status Anglo-Saxon pottery and Roman Samian Ware.

He said it was all the more remarkable because prior to the dig “all the evidence suggested the field had never been developed”.

They decided to carry out a full excavation in January – and within an hour found the first of over 80 human burials. The dig was completed in June but its findings have only just been released to the press.

Historic England said other important finds included six “very rare” plank-lined graves “believed to be the earliest known examples in Britain” and evidence of a timber structure thought to be a church.

Historic England believes the burials date from between the 7th and 9th Centuries AD and were “the final resting place for a community of early Christians”.

Research is continuing to find out where the bodies came from, how they were related and what their diet and health was like.

Some of the finds will go on display at Norwich Castle Museum.

Article Source (BBC)

HisTOURies U.K
The Best Tours in British History

 

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This rich archaeological landscape offers a wealth of prehistoric temples, Neolithic harvest hills for fertility rituals and communal tombs. Visit mysterious Silbury Hill, Europe’s largest artificial mound, the Neolithic communal tomb of West Kennet Long Barrow, Old Sarum, Overton Hill Sanctuary, Avebury, Britain’s largest henge and Stonehenge. These tours depart from Bath but can be organised from Salisbury or even London

At Wessex Guided Tours we aim to provide the best planned, best led and altogether the most fulfilling and enjoyable archaeological tours available.  Our private day excursions offer the best opportunity to explore and experience some of Britain’s most iconic and significant ancient sites, guided by our archaeologist guides.

We specialise in archaeology tours, and as a result we believe we offer an excellent Stonehenge Access Toursspecialist service.

Private Tours:

Our itineraries are original, imaginative, well-paced and carefully balanced. Knowledge of the subject matter and the destinations combine with detailed attention to practical matters to ensure an enriching and smooth-running experience.

If you are travelling as a small group, you can design your own day trip or simply select one of our regular itineraries but have exclusive use of the vehicle for the day. We will collect you from any location within central London, Bath or Salisbury. The duration of your vehicle hire is 8-10 hours depending on the places that you are visiting and traffic conditions on the day.

Our most popular tours include:

Stonehenge, Bath and Avebury Archaeologist Guided Tour: Walk the paths of ritual specialists and builders of Britain’s most fascinating and awe-inspiring prehistoric sites.

Stonehenge, Salisbury and Avebury Archaeologist Guided Tour: Walk the paths of ritual specialists and builders of Britain’s most fascinating and awe-inspiring prehistoric sites. Britain’s most beautiful landscapes. Visit one of England’s most impressive Cathedrals at Salisbury.

Wessex Guided Tours
The Best Tours in British History www.HisTOURies.co.uk

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