Excavation work on the South Downs for onshore cables for the Eon’s Rampion Offshore Wind Farm have unearthed human remains, with signs of a traumatic death, that date back to the 11th century.
The discovery was made by environmental consultant RSK which has worked with archaeologists from Archaeology South East, UCL, to uncover the grave in chalk bedrock on the south-western side of Truleigh Hill, north of Shoreham-by Sea.
The remains of the 25 to 35 year old male are thought to be the result of an execution killing due to cuts in the neck and the body is thought to date from around 1010-1025AD following radiocarbon dating, which indicated death before the Norman Conquest.
Rampion Offshore Wind Farm development and stakeholder manager Chris Tomlinson said: “We have been very intrigued by this unexpected Saxon discovery and it’s been fascinating to learn so much from the radiocarbon dating research and analysis about this person and how they met their end.”
The isolated burial was found along the ancient route of the South Downs Way in an area of known prehistoric graves recorded in the West Sussex Historic Environment Record. It is believed some were once identifiable as visible surface burial mounds and were excavated in the 18th and 19th centuries and sometimes coincide with isolated burials.
“Throughout consultation and construction, we have continued to work closely with the South Downs National Park Authority and West Sussex County Council to make sure all onshore activity is carried out in a responsible way,” added Tomlinson.