HS2 team unearths Iron Age murder victim

Aaron Morby 2 years ago
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Archaeologists working on the HS2 project in Buckinghamshire have discovered a skeleton believed to be a murder victim from the Iron Age.

Skeleton of Iron Age man buried face down in a ditch with bound hands
Skeleton of Iron Age man buried face down in a ditch with bound hands

During the excavation work at Wellwick Farm near Wendover, archaeologists discovered a skeleton of an adult male buried face down in a ditch with hands bound together under his pelvis.

The unusual burial position suggests the iron age man may have been a victim of a murder or execution. Osteologists are currently examining the skeleton for further evidence of foul play.

The archaeological works have revealed a wealth of evidence of human activity dating from the Neolithic to the Medieval period, a time-spanning around 4000 years.

The land to the west of Wendover seems to have been persistently used for ceremonial activity as archaeologists also uncovered a large circular monument of wooden posts 65m in diameter with features aligned with the winter solstice, similar to Stonehenge in Wiltshire.

Stonehenge-like wooden structure was 65m in diameter

The section of the HS2 route is being prepared to build the Wendover Green Tunnel and the Wendover North Cutting.

The archaeology programme is a central part of HS2’s ground preparation works for Phase One of the project.

HS2, its contractors and supply chain are well underway with a programme of work, clearing sites, ahead of main construction.

Dr Rachel Wood, project archaeologist said: “We already knew that Buckinghamshire is rich in archaeology but discovering a site showing human activity spanning 4,000 years came as a bit of a surprise to us.

“The death of the Wellwick Farm man remains a mystery to us but there aren’t many ways you end up in a bottom of a ditch, face down, with your hands bound. We hope our osteologists will be able to shed more light on this potentially gruesome death.

“The large wooden ceremonial structure at Wellwick Farm helps bring alive the fact that people lived, worked and died in this area long before we came along.“

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