Bronze Age burial site unearthed at former rugby club

A BRONZE Age burial site has been unearthed by archaeologists excavating the former home of a Suffolk rugby club.

Russell Claydon

A BRONZE Age burial site has been unearthed by archaeologists excavating the former home of a Suffolk rugby club.

The two fields which served as the home of Sudbury Rugby Club in nearby Great Cornard are the source of great excitement for a team of archaeologists working at the site.

Since moving into the site off The Mead in July teams from Suffolk County Council's Archaeological Service have discovered a haul of artefacts dating back to around 3,000 BC.

The dig has gone ahead as part of a future redevelopment of the site by Persimmon Homes which has paid for the excavation as part of its agreement to build hundreds of new homes in Great Cornard.

One field has been fully excavated and work on the second one is underway and proving fruitful with struck flint, used for making tools, Saxon pottery and even knife blades among the finds.

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Jo Caruth, senior project officer for the dig, said: “It is very exciting we are able to dig these two adjacent ring ditches and we are hoping it will tell us a bit more about Bronze Age burial rites.

“It also helps enhance the picture of the landscape in that area of Great Cornard.”

The fertile south-facing valleys, such as those of the River Stour, are known to be a rich area for such sites and their locations become apparent through crop circles visible in aerial photographs. Trenches are then dug evenly around the circle typically uncovering 30% of it to give a good representation of what is beneath the site.

Mo Muldowney, archaeological project officer at the Great Cornard dig, said the site was found to be associated with pre-historic burial practices and further analysis will determine whether they have human remains.

“It is a funerary landscape which basically means it is where they built their monument to bury people,” she said. “The second ring ditch is slightly smaller and there appears to be the remains of some mound material.”

A team of 12 archaeologists is involved in hand digging the site due to the sensitivity of the operation and estimate there is another 5-6 weeks work left on the second field.

Artefacts uncovered are currently being quantified and dated back at their offices in Bury St Edmunds ahead of further analysis. Unless treasure is found they will go into storage and may end up at a local museum.

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