Page last updated at 11:56 GMT, Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Ancient burial ground uncovered

Archaeologists on the dig
The remains are being taken back to Oxford to be examined

More than a dozen skeletons thought to be thousands of years old, have been found by Oxford archaeologists working at an ancient burial site in Dorset.

Excavations are taking place at the site in Weymouth before builders move in to build an access road to the Olympic sailing centre for 2012.

Archaeologist David Score said they had catalogued finds from almost every period of human life.

He said it "really added to knowledge of the Bronze and Neolithic eras".

"Building the relief road has given archaeologists an excuse to excavate and record finds dating back thousands of years," Mr Score said.

"I think it is very important because it's not very often that you get the opportunity to excavate an area of this size, in a location of such importance with so many burials from a wide span of time.

Eating habits

"I think once we have done all the analysis it really will contribute quite a lot to the corpus of knowledge that we've got about the Bronze Age and Neolithic periods in this area.

"We found more than a dozen skeletons they're in various states of preservation. Some are fairly poorly preserved, but the later ones, particularly the Roman ones are fairly well preserved."

All the finds are being taken back to Oxford where they are being catalogued.

Scientists will also look for small fish bones or charred plant remains to try and find out more about ancient eating habits.

The items will eventually be returned to Dorset where they will be put on display in a museum.

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Relief road excavation to start
24 Sep 08 |  Dorset

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