Saxon Graves Find Halts Pounds 21m Bypass Project; Work Suspended as Archaeologists Excavate 7th Century Settlement

Article excerpt

WORK to construct a pounds 21 million bypass has been suspended while archaeologists excavate a Saxon settlement containing 19 skeletons.

The skeletons, dating back to the 7th Century AD, have been unearthed on the route of the Aston Clinton bypass on the A41 in Buckinghamshire and the last remains were being removed yesterday to be studied and eventually displayed in a museum in the county.

The burial site, stretching over 100 square metres, contains the remains of men, women and three children and valuable artifacts, including gilded brooches, amber necklaces and pagan daggers.

The graves were discovered last month and the area has been protected while the site was studied, mapped and excavated.

The Highways Agency carried out preliminary investigations in May 2000, when the site was considered to be a possible Iron Age ditch. It was while the ditch was investigated last month that the first of the graves was uncovered.

Andy Finch, the agency's projects sponsor for the four-mile bypass which will take traffic away from the village of Aston Clinton, said: "We like to respond positively to discoveries such as these remains. We respect archaeological finds and we work to protect the environment through which the road passes. …