Concerns as ancient graves ‘dig’ is ended

Marion Treby, Andrew Burton and Simon Cole at Exning dig ANL-141211-134621001
Marion Treby, Andrew Burton and Simon Cole at Exning dig ANL-141211-134621001

Councillors and residents in Exning are concerned that an archaeological dig, which has already revealed more than 20 ancient graves, may have been ended prematurely.

Specialist company Archaeological Solutions has been excavating land in Burwell Road for the past six weeks on behalf of developer Persimmon Homes, which has outline permission to build 120 new homes on the site.

As well as Anglo Saxon remains dating back more than 1,000 years, archaeologists have also found a Bronze Age burial mound which is more than 3,000 years old.

And on Monday, the day before work was to finish, they unearthed their most significant find, a warrior buried with his sword and dagger.

Exning district councillor Simon Cole said he had written to planning authority Forest Heath District Council asking if the developer could be asked to extend the archaeological search to more of the site.

“These are really significant finds,” said Cllr Cole, “and have only been revealed by this excavation as the geophysical survey of the site did not pick up the graves. Who knows what else may be out there we could find Bodicea and her chariot.”

Exning parish councillor Andrew Burton said: “These are our ancestors and we feel we should record the fact they have been here and perhaps the name of the new estate should reflect that this are was once an Anglo Saxon burial site.”

Andy Peachey, of Archaeological Solutions, said: “Persimmon has funded the excavation and as a developer they have been most generous and flexible in their approach to archaeology.”

He added: “We will be presenting the results of the excavation in Exning Community Church Hall in the New Year.”