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Long Melford: Ancient bones found in archaeological dig at village school

09:00 28 July 2012

The archaeological dig in the grounds of Long Melford Primary School. Andrew Tester is pictured at the site.

The archaeological dig in the grounds of Long Melford Primary School. Andrew Tester is pictured at the site.

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ARCHAEOLOGISTS working in west Suffolk have unearthed the 2,000-year-old remains of tribesmen buried beneath a primary school playground.

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Experts from Suffolk County Council’s archaeological services started the dig at Long Melford Primary School this week ahead of building work to extend the school building and install new play equipment. So far, they have exhumed two skeletons and the ancient remains of a cremation together with some well-preserved pottery pieces that were used to hold food and drink offerings.

According to senior project officer, Andrew Tester, the site dates back to the second century when Long Melford was under the control of a tribe known as a the Trinovantes, allies to the Romans who had invaded East Anglia a century before.

He said: “This is a small burial site that, we think, is located here because it was near a major Roman road or besides some dwellings.

“The way bodies were placed in graves was a lot more informal at this time compared with later Roman and Christian periods. Some bodies were laid face down, others even had their skulls placed between their legs.

“This site is important because it shows the variety of ways bodies were inhumed at this time.”

Mr Tester said the finds would be taken away for further tests to ascertain the exact age of the bones.

He added that Suffolk County Council would be working with the school to involve pupils in a project about the find.

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