Devon

Medieval graves found near Exeter 'mystify' archaeologists

Burial site
Image caption The burials are thought to be from the 13th or 14th Century and were found near Exeter, Devon

The discovery of 70 graves found by archaeologists on a site earmarked for housing has mystified experts.

The burials are thought to be from the 13th or 14th Century and were found near Exeter, Devon.

Archaeologist Richard Greatorex said: "These burials are very rare because they're not in a graveyard, on consecrated ground and they're individual graves."

He said the find at Tithebarn Green, Redhayes was "perplexing".

'Great interest'

Mr Greatorex said: "These graves are within a Bronze Age enclosure. These burials are very rare because they're not in a graveyard, on consecrated ground which they would have been by this time during the 13th or 14th Century."

"There's no record of a church or graveyard on the site, if they were plague victims [from the Black Death] we'd expect a mass burial.

"We have also found a number of furnaces or corn dryers used to dry a variety of cereals and several additional Bronze Age ditches. The site had clearly been in use for a long time."

The excavation work has been commissioned by a property developer who plans to build a new village on the site.

Ten archaeologists have removed almost 21,000 cubic metres of soil over the last 10 weeks

Bill Horner, county archaeologist at Devon County Council, said the finds were of "great interest".

The findings are expected to be put on public display in 2016.

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