Archaeologists make finds near new gas pipeline

Alexandra Wood

A WARRIOR’S grave containing an iron sword and spearhead has been discovered in the Yorkshire Wolds.

The find, the first of its kind in the area in 25 years, came during a dig close to the Gypsey Race, a stream which is now thought to have fascinated early man because of the number of major prehistoric monuments discovered along it.

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The sword was lying over the right arm of the skeleton, with a shield over its pelvis, and the spear pointing to his toes.

It dates from the late Iron Age, just pre-dating the Roman invasion.

Humber Field Archaeology, who conducted the dig at Caythorpe on behalf of Centrica Storage, also discovered Neolithic remains.

These date from between 4000 and 2500 BC and may be associated with religious ceremonies and burial rites.

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They were found a few hundred metres away along the route of a new gas pipeline.

These included a circular monument, which may be a small henge, about 16m in diameter surrounded by a ditch 2m wide, with substantial upright timber posts in the centre.

Pits found nearby contained evidence of ritual feasting, including numerous animal bones and burnt material.

One thought-provoking discovery was an Anglo Saxon skeleton buried unceremoniously under rocks rather than in the ground.

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Project manager Ken Steedman said the finds were not surprising given the area: “The Gypsey Race like all other waterbodies would have been very important.

“It would have formed a boundary feature and often you get burials and other symbolic structures close to boundaries,” he said.

The sword will undergo conservation and once cleaned will go on display.