Clitheroe Excavation – Discoveries

An excavated section through the ring ditch (scale = 2m). © Copyright ARS Ltd
One of the cremation urns during excavation being stabilised with bandages to support the delicate pottery. © Copyright ARS Ltd
Accurately recording the extent of the ring ditch using GPS equipment. © Copyright ARS Ltd

ARS Ltd began investigations on the site with the excavation of 21 evaluation trenches, the locations of which were decided upon in order to target ‘anomalies’ picked up by the geophysical survey. Three of the trenches were found to contain features of archaeological interest.

The main focus of the evaluation trenching was the ring ditch which was successfully identified within one of the trenches. Both sides of the feature were found within the trench approximately 65cm below the level of the modern ground surface. The ditch itself was found to have a maximum width of 1.18m but no internal features were found at this stage.

It was subsequently decided to extend the area around the trench containing the ring ditch in order to find out as much information about it as possible and to record it fully before work began on the development. An area measuring 35m x 35m was stripped of topsoil to reveal the ring ditch in its entirety which was found to have a diameter of approximately 20m. Once the topsoil had been stripped, the entire area was carefully cleaned by hand which allowed for the discovery of nine cremation burials located within the centre of the ring ditch. Four of the cremations were found to have been buried within pottery vessels common within the Bronze Age and known as ‘collared urns’, while the remaining five cremations were un-urned. Upon excavation by our Osteologist, the cremation material within one of the urns was actually found to have been inserted into a smaller, inverted (upside-down) collared urn and then placed in the base of the larger vessel, a very unusual practice.


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