Independent dating of the human remains from Kemerton Camp, Bredon Hill, Worcestershire, has been undertaken for the first time thanks to a grant from the Royal Archaeological Institute. The three human bone samples dispersed across the gateway into the camp consistently returned dates of between 170-50 BC, compounding the evidence from the bio-archaeological analysis that the human remains were deposited as a single event. The date indicates a major social breakdown resulting in a massacre that was possibly pre-Roman.

Analysis of the human remains, using the latest methodologies in forensic practice, will aim to shed light on the final years of the site's occupation and to determine the events that led to the deposit of co-mingled human remains. This will include assessing the age and sex of the individuals as well as identifying any peri-mortem trauma that could have led to their deaths. Analysis of the animal bone assemblage is also underway, with a preliminary assessment completed by UCL.

Kemerton Camp was excavated in the 1930's by Thalassa Cruso Hencken and her excavation work has provided the only tangible evidence of the camp's history for archaeologists to date. Although theoretical re-interpretations of the site have been put forward, this is the first time since the original excavations that the material evidence will be reassessed using modern techniques. The data will provide a unique insight into life and death at the camp as well as form a basis for further researchThe project to reassess the archaeological site, led by Derek Hurst of WAAS, could lead to the discovery of new clues about the sudden abandonment of the site marked with a deposit of human remains. Already, an initial assessment of the pottery indicates that the site could span to earlier periods than previously thought, with pottery from the site possibly dating to the Middle Iron Age.

 

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