“Human remains have been found during an archaeological dig in Clare Castle Country Park, revealing the location of a Christian burial site previously unknown to historians.
The three sets of remains were found during a nine-day dig led by a team of ten archaeologists from Access Cambridge Archaeology (ACA).
The dig, which saw four trenches excavated at different locations within the grounds of Clare Castle, was part of the Managing a Masterpiece project, which aims to find out more about the history of the Stour Valley landscape and discover how traditional land management has shaped it.
Leading the archaeologists and the 120 or so volunteers who turned up to help during the course of the excavations was ACA director, Dr Carenza Lewis, well known for her TV appearances on Time Team.
Probably the most exciting discovery of the nine days was that of the human remains, one set of which belonged to a ten to 12-year-old child and another to a baby or infant, while the age of the third was undetermined.
Because only the feet and legs were found the gender of those buried could not be established, but the findings proved very exciting, particularly as the trench they were found in was only dug to assess damage caused by building of the railway line in 1865.
Dr Lewis explained: “We didn’t know there was a church here with burial rites. It probably explains why the castle is situated here and not the other side of town. The excavation has told us not only that there is surviving archaeology, it’s also told us something new, that there must have been a church here at some time.””