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Archaeological Riches: Uncovering More Ancient Graves at the Thanet Earth Site.

Poignant discoveries have been made by archaeologists working at the Thanet Earth salad growing complex development near Monkton.

One is of a woman, just over five feet tall, buried with a tiny infant. By its position, it is thought to be her stillborn baby.

Nearby an unusual grave contained two individuals. The skeletons are yet to be examined in detail, but one is certainly male. Both were large, one over six foot tall. Clearly a couple of some kind, one of the deceased lay with an arm across the other.

Marion Green, education officer with Canterbury Archaeological Trust, said: “This double burial is a unique discovery for the Thanet Earth site.”

Many of the team have recently been concentrating on Plateau 8, where the developers, Fresca Group, will construct the research and education glasshouse.

Marion said: “From early on, the signs were that this area was going to be very productive and the archaeologists have not been disappointed.

“The evidence shows that it was intensively worked in prehistoric times, particularly the Early Iron Age, c. 600-300BC. The team has uncovered hundreds of pits (many probably silos to store grain over the winter) and post holes (remains of wooden structures), numerous fragments of pottery jars and bowls, animal bones (sheep, cattle, pig), abundant charred remains of plants and pulses (especially cereals and peas) and burials of both humans and animals.

“So far 18 burials have been found on Plateau 8 – two dogs and 16 humans. Five of the human burials were found in ditches surrounding the main area of Iron Age activity and may have been placed there to ‘protect’ the settlement. Other burials may have been offerings.”

The Trust made the first discoveries at the huge Thanet Earth site almost a year ago, but no-one could have foreseen then just how much would be revealed once excavation began in earnest.

The archaeological field work is expected to finish at the end of the summer.

Events KentOnline reporter