A number of rounded structures from the Iron Age, as well as pits, were discovered at an archaeological site in Winterborne Kingston, Dorset, by archaeology students last September. These findings date back to around 100 BCE.
Over the past several weeks, a team of Bournemouth students have been excavating the site, digging up skeletons of women and men as well as the body parts of animals in storage pits that were most likely originally used to hold grain.
“Sites across Dorset in the Late Iron Age are unique because the communities here buried their dead in defined cemeteries; elsewhere in the country, they would either be cremated, or placed in rivers. But in Dorset, it seems they did things rather differently," according to Dr. Miles Russell, an archaeologist at Bournemouth University.
"We know a great deal about the period during and after the Roman conquest of Britain, but in regards to the period before their arrival we do not have anything written, the answers to how they lived come solely from what we find in the ground,” Russell added.
“In some pits, animal parts had been placed onto and together with other animals – for example we found a cow’s head on the body of a sheep. We don’t know why they would have done this, to us it’s frankly bizarre, but it’s a fascinating new insight into their belief systems.”
What did people eat in 100 BC?
In this latest discovery, a team has found evidence of "what food the people that once lived here ate or what animals they've kept and what kind of pottery they were using," archaeologist Harry Manely said in a video posted by the university from the site.
"What's nice is that we are not only getting a deeper understanding of the people who lived here but we're in fact learning from the skeletal materials how they died"Harry Manley, archaeologist
"What's nice is that we are not only getting a deeper understanding of the people who lived here but we're in fact learning from the skeletal materials how they died," he said.
"People who lived here were also buried here and so we can understand their burial practices and their belief system," Manely said. "That fits back into our wider understanding of how different cultures were living here but also how we perceive them as well."