Rail service improvements and disruptions

13.07.20

HS2 uncovers Iron Age discoveries

During the excavation work at Wellwick Farm near Wendover, archaeologists working on the HS2 project in Buckinghamshire have discovered a skeleton believed to be a murder victim from the Iron Age.

The discovery comes at the start of the Festival of British Archaeology, an annual event taking place over nine days between 11th and 19th of July. HS2 will be taking part, hosting digital events showcasing recent archaeological discoveries.

The skeleton appears to be 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 victim of a murder or execution. Osteologists are currently examining the skeleton for further evidence of foul play.

The archaeological works have exposed a wealth of archaeology with indication of human activity dating from the Neolithic to the Medieval period, a time spanning around 4,000 years.

At Wellwick Farm, archaeologists believe the Bronze Age and Iron Age saw the addition of some domestic occupation with at least one roundhouse identified and possible structures such as animal pens and pits used for disposing food.

During the Roman period, this occupation may have moved to the current location of Wendover but the Wellwick Farm site was still used for burials.

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 key part of HS2’s ground preparation works for Phase One of the project, London to Birmingham.

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

Mike Court, HS2 Lead Archaeologist, said: “Before we build the low-carbon high-speed railway between London and Birmingham, we are uncovering a wealth of archaeology that will enrich our cultural heritage.

“Our discoveries will be shared with communities and the public through virtual lectures, open days and in an upcoming BBC archaeology documentary. 

“The sheer scale of possible discoveries, the geographical span and the vast range of our history to be unearthed makes HS2’s archaeology programme a unique opportunity to tell the story of Buckinghamshire and Britain.”

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.”

Wellwick Farm archaeology

Images: HS2 

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