Skeletons from the Iron Age uncovered on £3.5m project in East Yorkshire

Northern Archaeological Associates (NAA) have uncovered a large number of archaeological features and artefacts during an extensive scheme of archaeological excavations, ahead of the installation of a new water main by Yorkshire Water and Morrison Utility Services. The new 9km water pipeline crossed numerous archaeological sites from Burstwick to Rimswell. 

The most impressive findings were the remains of two skeletons which could be up to 3,000 years old. They were both found buried in a corner of what was likely a cemetery dating from the Iron Age.  

The deeper of the two graves contained the remains of a male who was buried with a sword, shield and spear. The sword had been deliberately bent which indicates a ceremonial event in which the weapon is ‘killed’, by bending it, as a form of religious offering. Both skeletons were also buried with ox-tails, thought to be offerings.

Evidence of numerous Iron Age round houses was also discovered in the pipeline corridor along with a large scatter of tools, spoons and pottery.
Yorkshire Water Project Manager, Dave Standish comments “We often work with Northern Archaeological Associates who monitor our projects for any archaeological findings but it’s not often you get to see such exciting pieces of history being found. We’ve been working with the archaeologists from the start of our project here; we had to wait until each section of land was clear of archaeology before progressing with laying the water mains.”

“Our project, due for completion next year, will increase the security of around 5,400 customers’ water supplies and reduce the risk of bursts. The existing main water pipe that runs along the B1362 was laid in 1977 and is in poor condition. It had burst over 15 times at various locations in recent years so this £3.5m investment is great news for local residents.”