Archaeology news: Bronze age burials discovered in the New Forest

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Three burial mounds have been discovered near Franchises Lodge, an area owned by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). The burial mounds are three of more than 200 which have so far been discovered in the New Forest, some of which date back to 2,200 BC.

Experts are able to identify these burial mounds due to a “ring ditch” which forms around earth when soil has been dug up.

The area was being removed of dense vegetation by RSPB staff and community archaeologists when they made the surprising find.

New Forest National Park Authority (NPA) Community Archaeologist Hilde van der Heul, said: “The burial mounds at Franchises Lodge are called bowl barrows, which are the most common form of Bronze Age round barrow.

“They would have been constructed anywhere from the Late Neolithic to the Late Bronze Age, probably covering single or multiple burials.

“These ones are grouped into what is called a barrow cemetery, which is not uncommon for the period.

“Despite scrub and tree growth these barrows have survived comparatively well.

“They contain important archaeological evidence relating to their construction, social organisation, ritual and funerary practices, as well as overall landscape context within the New Forest.

“It is really important that we keep them in good shape for future generations to enjoy.”

Franchises Lodge is a 1,000-acre “secret forest” within the New Forest which is home to a wide range of rare UK animals, particularly birds.

It is currently closed to the public, but the hopes are to refurbish it and once again allow visitors in the near future.

Anneka Schofield, Community Volunteering Development Officer at Franchises Lodge, said: “The barrows were in unfavourable condition and largely or completely covered in thick rhododendron and conifer trees.

“We have cleared all three in line with Hilde’s advice for preserving the integrity of the barrows.”

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Bronze Age Britain is a period in British history which spans from around 2,500BC to 800BC.

It was the first time residents of the British isles began using bronze for tools, weapons and even agriculture.

Several of the UK’s most significant monuments were erected during the Bronze Age, including Stonehenge.

It was followed by the Iron Age, which was largely introduced by the Romans.

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