Archaeologists Find Early Saxon Burial Ground In Doncaster

By 24 Hour Museum Staff | 03 February 2008
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photo of a skeleton in the ground holding a curved sword

One of the burials; courtesy ARCUS

Archaeologists have discovered a cemetery dating back 1,500 years at the site of a new school near Doncaster.

The exciting find, which consists of 35 burials, was made by a team from the Archaeological Research and Consultancy at the University of Sheffield (ARCUS) prior to the construction of the new North Ridge Special School in Adwick le Street.

“It is not every day that we find something as interesting as this,” said Richard O’Neill, ARCUS Project Manager. “Builders often ask us ‘have you found any old bones?’ This time we can say ‘Yes!’”

Investigations have shown that the remains date from between the 5th and 9th centuries, when the area was occupied by Saxons and Vikings. The burials are thought to be pre-Christian because of their south-west to north-east orientation.

Previous finds in the area include a high status burial of a 9th century Viking woman, half a mile from the school site, in 2001. Chemical analysis of her skeleton showed she had been born in Norway or north east Scotland.

Further analysis of the new finds will be carried out to shed light on the communities’ ages, health and lifestyle, and their origins. The remains will then be handed over to Doncaster Museum.

“I am delighted to hear that one of our schools is at the heart of such an impressive archaeological find – this is a real coup for Doncaster and a welcome addition to the Borough’s rich archaeological heritage,” commented the Mayor of Doncaster, Martin Winters. “I am especially pleased that Doncaster’s school children will be able to benefit from this exciting discovery.”

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