Bronze Age burial near Stonehenge discovered by badger

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media captionA Bronze Age cremation burial has been discovered near Stonehenge after being accidentally dug up by a badger.

A Bronze Age cremation burial has been discovered near Stonehenge after being accidentally dug up by a badger.

Objects found in a burial mound at Netheravon, Wiltshire, include a bronze saw, an archer's wrist guard, a copper chisel and cremated human remains.

Experts believe the burial may have been that of an archer or a person who made archery equipment.

The artefacts date back to 2,200-2,000BC, senior archaeologist Richard Osgood, of the MOD, said.

image copyrightWiltshire Council CMAS
image captionSherds of pottery from a cremation urn were dug up by a badger
image copyrightWiltshire Council CMAS
image captionClaw marks can be seen on bits of the pottery

The burial mound, about five miles north of Stonehenge, lies on MOD land.

Mr Osgood, from the MOD's Defence Infrastructure Organisation, said it was "an exciting find".

"It was utterly unexpected. These are wonderful artefacts from the early Bronze Age, about 2,200-2,000 BC," he said.

Other archaeological finds in Wiltshire:

1. Bronze Age burial discovered by a badger

2. Soldiers uncover 27 ancient bodies at Barrow Clump on Salisbury Plain

8. Bronze Age hoard found near Tisbury

Also among the finds were shaft straighteners for straightening arrows, and pieces of pottery.

Mr Osgood said the badger had dug out the cremation urn and sherds of pottery were lying on the surface when they were spotted.

A full archaeological dig was then carried out on the site.

Mr Osgood said: "There are badger setts in quite a few scheduled monuments - the actions of burrowing animals is one of the biggest risks to archaeology in Britain - but to bring out items of this quality from one hole is unusual.

image copyrightWiltshire Council CMAS
image captionA copper chisel, which still has its decorated bone handle attached, was one of the objects unearthed

"We would never have known these objects were in there, so there's a small part of me that is quite pleased the badger did this... but it probably would have been better that these things had stayed within the monument where they'd resided for 4,000 years."

Injured military personnel and veterans helped to excavate the site.

The items are due to be put on display at Wiltshire Museum in Devizes later this year.

image copyrightWiltshire Council CMAS
image captionExperts think the bronze saw may have been used by somebody who made archery equipment
image copyrightWiltshire Council CMAS
image captionAn archer's wrist guard and shaft straighteners were among the objects discovered

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