We are pleased to announce that one of Bournemouth University’s archaeological research projects has been endorsed by HM Lord-Lieutenant of Dorset.
Academics at BU, led by Dr Martin Smith, are working to discover the true story behind 34 skeletons found buried near the entrance of Dorset’s Maiden Castle – one of Britain’s best-known prehistoric structures.
Originally excavated in the 1930s, it was believed for decades that the skeletons were the victims of a brutal Roman assault on the fort, but recent research has brought this theory into significant doubt.
On hearing of the project Angus Campbell Esq, the Lord-Lieutenant, commented that he believed the research could “greatly enhance our understanding of this iconic landmark”. He said:
“As a young boy, I have a vivid memory of watching Ballista Arrowheads being excavated from the floor of a large hut on Hod Hill during Sir Ian Richmond’s Dig in the 1950s, and of a particular school lecture on Sir Mortimer Wheeler’s Maiden Castle excavations. This experience generated a life-long enthusiasm for the history and archaeology of our beautiful county of Dorset. I am therefore thrilled to hear of this project to re-evaluate the contents of the ‘War Cemetery’ that was discovered and excavated by Sir Mortimer Wheeler in his 1930s dig at Maiden Castle.
“I understand that there are some very pertinent questions to be answered as to the length of time the ‘War Cemetery’, as it was called, has been in existence and of some of the burial practices that appear to have taken place there. These questions would indicate that there may be much more to learn from the remains of these Iron Age Dorset folk.
“We are extremely lucky to have Dr Martin Smith and the renowned Bournemouth University Archaeological Team so keen to do this work if the resources for such a venture can be found. The results of this research will, I am sure, greatly enhance our understanding of this iconic landmark and the people who lived there. I find this a most exciting project and I very much hope that this work is able to go forward.”
We are fundraising for additional work needed to finally solve this Dorset ‘murder mystery’.
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