Oxfordshire water pipe work uncovers 3,000-year-old Iron Age Skeletons and Roman artefacts in England
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Oxfordshire water pipework uncovers 3,000-year-old Iron Age Skeletons and Roman artefacts in England

Dozens of ancient skeletons were found by engineers laying down pipes more than 50 miles outside London. Workers in the UK Utility company Thames Water uncovered bones believed to be part of England’s nearly 3,000-year-old settlement— and archeologists believe that some of them may have been victims of’ human sacrifice.’

“26 human skeletons believed to be from the Iron Age and Roman periods were found in Oxfordshire as the company was working on a project to preserve a rare chalk stream, Thames Water said in a statement.

The company said some likely were involved in ritual burials. A spokesperson told CBS News that the discovery was made “several months ago.”

One of the ancient human skeletons found by U.K. utility company Thames Water as workers were laying out a new pipeline in Oxfordshire.
One of the ancient human skeletons found by U.K. utility company Thames Water as workers were laying out a new pipeline in Oxfordshire.

Cotswold Archaeology excavated the site. Chief executive of the organization, Neil Holbrook, saw this dig as a chance to “examine a number of previously unknown archaeological sites.”

The Iron Age site at Childrey Warren was particularly fascinating as it provided a glimpse into the beliefs and superstitions of people living in Oxfordshire before the Roman conquest,” Holbrook said.

“Evidence elsewhere suggests that burials in pits might have involved human sacrifice.”The discovery challenges our perceptions about the past, and invites us to try to understand the beliefs of people who lived and died more than 2,000 years ago,” he added.

Evidence of dwellings, animal carcasses and household items including pottery, cutting implements, and a decorative comb were also found.

Bone comb (Late Roman or Anglo Saxon)
Bone comb (Late Roman or Anglo Saxon)

Thames Water is in the midst of laying down a new 3.7-mile-long pipeline that will provide water from the Thames River to Oxfordshire villages.


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P. Natasha Covers Classical Archaeology news and has been with Histecho since 2017. She has a Master's degree in MA Archaeology from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting program. A California native, she also holds a Bachelor of science in molecular biology and a Master of Science in biology from the University of California, San Diego.