Digging for Britain features A417 excavations

A417 discoveries to feature on Digging for Britain
Kemble’s Sharon Clough assesses the human remains with Jim Keyte (Arup) and Prof. Alice Roberts

At the A417 near Cheltenham, in the shadow of Crickley Hill Iron Age hillfort, our team have uncovered an unusual Iron Age ‘banjo enclosure’, a ceremonial Iron Age landscape, and been interviewed and recorded by Professor Alice Roberts for the latest series of Digging for Britain

You can hear all about the use of this unusual enclosure and the enigmatic burial we found within, when the site screens tonight on BBC2 at 8pm. Or, you can catch the project on iPlayer from 48 minutes into this episode: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m001ttqx/digging-for-britain-series-11-3-a-norman-panic-room-and-a-mesolithic-fish-trap

A417 discoveries to feature on Digging for Britain
Aerial imagery of the banjo enclosure, seen here as the darker, heart-shaped soil colouration

Our joint venture team, Oxford Cotswold Archaeology, have spent two months excavating the site, which was likely the focus of special Iron Age activity such as feasting. Dating back almost 2,200 years, at the time this area was active, Gloucestershire’s population would have been rapidly expanding with humans making tools and weapons from iron and steel. We’ve uncovered a range of artefacts including animal skulls, butchered animal bones, and evidence of a metal working platform. The crouched burial of a young Iron Age man, likely aged between 17-20 years, has also been discovered. Given the grave’s location, it’s likely this death has been marked as a significant event in the community’s history.

Previous discoveries from the site include an impressive little Roman Cupid figurine, with more Roman discoveries sure to be uncovered as the National Highways project progresses…

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