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09-05-2013, 08:00 PM
Excavation gives gruesome glimpse of Iron Age massacre where 'thousands' were slaughtered, chopped up and dumped in mass grave
Remains discovered Britain’s largest Iron Age hillfort, Ham Hill, Somerset
Experts found evidence of mass slaughter almost 2,000 years ago
Archaeologists say some of the bodies were even defleshed and chopped up
By DALYA ALBERGE
PUBLISHED: 11:19 GMT, 5 September 2013 | UPDATED: 13:07 GMT, 5 September 2013

From the ground, the views could not be more picturesque, the epitome of England’s ‘green and pleasant lands’.
But the idyllic landscape conceals an horrific past - a terrible massacre that took place in Iron Age Britain.
Excavations in Somerset – at a vast ancient site near Yeovil - have unearthed evidence of a mass murder which could have involved thousands of people.

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Excavated remains of the heads and necks of three late Iron Age individuals thrown into an enclosure ditch, discovered at Britain's largest Iron Age hillfort, Ham Hill, Somerset

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The excavations in Somerset have dug up evidence of a mass slaughter involving hundreds, if not thousands, of people nearly 2,000 years ago

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Human fingers found in rubbish dump. Human remains from the ancient site near Yeovil have cut-marks, often in multiple rows, and at the ends of important joints

More gruesome still, some of the slaughtered bodies had all the flesh stripped from their bones (a practice known as ‘defleshing’) and were chopped up.

This is suggested by the cut-marks, often in rows and at the end of major joints, found on the human remains.
Dr Marcus Brittain, the Cambridge archaeologist, has headed a major excavation of Britain’s largest Iron Age hill fort, Ham Hill.

‘What’s uncharacteristic is the sheer quantity of them,’ he said.

‘It’s unusual to find this number of bodies on any archaeological site let alone from the Iron Age.
‘It could not be more different to the hill fort’s modern serenity of picnics and dog-walkers.’

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Archaeologists at the site say some of the bodies were even defleshed and chopped up

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A roundhouse entrance and two semi-articulated bodies in rubbish pits. Ham Hill is so vast - the size of 123 football pitches surrounded by Iron Age ramparts - that only a small part has so far been excavated

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The remains are thought to date from the 1st or 2nd century AD, although the site had been occupied for thousands of years

The mutilation of the bodies suggests that they were ‘trying to separate pieces of the body’, thought to date from the 1st or 2nd century AD, according to Dr Brittain.

The excavation has uncovered a tiny percentage of a site that spans the equivalent of 123 football pitches, enclosed by Iron Age ramparts.

‘If you were to walk along the ramparts on the outside of the hillfort, you’d be walking for over three miles,’ Brittain said.
Most hill forts date from the first millennium BC to the Roman Conquest and excavations are rare because they are protected, ancient monuments.

However, an exception was made at Ham Hill because the underlying stone is one of the most important building materials in southern England and is required for the conservation of historic buildings.

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Ham Hill site contains one of the most important stone materials in southern England, used in the conservation of historic buildings in the region

In return for the Ham Hill Stone Quarry being extended, an important archaeological investigation by the universities of Cambridge and Cardiff was funded.

But the excavation has raised more questions than answers.
The massacre is thought to have taken place around the start of the Roman invasion, and Roman weapons – sharp and heavy ballista bolts that would have been fired by catapult – were found among the bodies.

‘There was serious aggression on the hill,’ said Dr Brittain.
One theory suggests that the Romans executed people to maintain order between indigenous tribes, but defleshing is rarely associated with them.

Instead, it was a cult of violence to the dead among Iron Age Britons, who often put polished skulls in doorways.
The archaeologists also excavated further into the interior of the fort, which will be open to the public for a day on Saturday September 7.

There, they uncovered evidence of domestic life, including Iron Age and Roman pottery and ritualistic burials, and even arrangements of human skulls.

They also found black mustard seeds which, Dr Brittain said, are normally associated with the Romans: ‘We’re finding it in abundance. It means that a new food type is being cultivated and gathered... either as a preservative or a spice.’
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Prisoner Of Ice
09-12-2013, 04:30 AM
Sounds like the Romans lost that one. If those are finger bones, he must have been 7 foot.