What is believed to be a 4,000-year-old Neolithic skeleton has been uncovered at a dig near Warmington, the Banbury Guardian can reveal.
In an exclusive interview with Warmington Heritage Group archaeologist Professor David Freke last Friday, details of the find were revealed to the public for the first time.
The bronze age skeleton was first uncovered in a pit in the middle of a dig trench during the 2013 season of annual excavations carried out by the group near the National Herb Centre at Warmington.
Mr Freke, along with volunteer archaeologists, first hit upon the head of the skeleton last year directly underneath the site where a rare hoard of silver Roman coins was uncovered in 2008.
Mr Freke said he believes the skeleton is the remains of a well-regarded member of society buried as part of a Neolithic burial ritual.
He said: “We excavated the whole pit last year and found the remains of an adult male in middle age.
“The bones have been moved around, with all of the upper body bones collected in a pile facing the east and the lower body towards the west.
“This would indicate that the burial was part of a ritual process.
He continued: “We think the bones were laid out in the open and later possibly covered over with an earth mound.
“We believe they are Neolithic because we found a wonderful Neolithic axe head in the pit and an antler pic used to prize stones and rocks out of the ground. So this would date the skeleton between 4,500-2,500 BC.
“He was clearly a robust individual and the fact they went to quite a lot of effort in his burial suggests he was quite an important member of his society.”
The skeleton is now being assessed by experts at Bradford University who will determine its exact date and ascertain more about the foods he ate, his lifestyle and the diseases he suffered from.