The bodies of 26 potential human sacrifice victims have been uncovered by workers fitting water pipes in the UK. The grim discovery was dug up near Wantage, Oxfordshire, along with evidence of homes and a range of household items.
The bones have now been taken for further study, allowing the company, Thames Water, to continue installing the six-metre pipeline. It appears the victims were slain during the Iron Age, over 2000 years ago.
Of the discovery, chief executive of Cotswold Archaeology Neil Holbrook said: “‘The new Thames Water pipeline provided us with an opportunity to examine a number of previously unknown archaeological sites.
“The Iron Age site at Childrey Warren was particularly fascinating as it provided a glimpse into the beliefs and superstitions of people living in Oxfordshire before the Roman conquest. Evidence elsewhere suggests that burials in pits might have involved human sacrifice.
“The discovery challenges our perceptions about the past, and invites us to try to understand the beliefs of people who lived and died more than 2,000 years ago.”
While Cotswold Archaeology project officer Paolo Guarino added: “These findings open a unique window into the lives and deaths of communities we often know only for their monumental buildings, such as hillforts or the Uffington White Horse.
“The results from the analysis of the artefacts, animal bones, the human skeletons and the soil samples will help us add some important information to the history of the communities that occupied these lands so many years ago.”