Region: South East
Owner Type: Housing Association
Funding Body: HVHS Housing Group
Year of Intervention: 2003
Summary: Scientific techniques can add a new dimension to our knowledge of the past: Archaeologists uncover the grave of probably the earliest known trout fisherman in Hampshires Test Valley.
Description: The excavation, which was carried out by Southampton Archaeology Unit, was located a few hundred metres from the River Anton, a tributary of the Test, in the village of Goodworth Clatford.
Issue: The Borough Council had requested the archaeological work in advance of a new housing development as the village of Goodworth Clatford has many archaeological remains and a number of Bronze Age burial mounds were known in the area. Consequently, archaeologists uncovered the grave of probably the earliest known trout fisherman in Hampshires Test Valley.
Strategy: Analysis and dating of the bones by scientists in New Zealand has revealed that freshwater fish provided part of the protein element in the man’s diet, in the middle Bronze Age, about 1350BC. “The River Test is now famous as the best trout stream in England”, said Dr Andy Russel, the excavator, “and this evidence shows it was an important resource over 3000 years ago”. The shallow grave had been badly disturbed by later ploughing, but enough survived to show that the man was aged between 30 and 50, of small stature but with well-developed arm muscles. His spine showed evidence of joint disease suggesting he had led a physical life, rather than being a chief or a priest.
Outcome: This find shows how new scientific techniques can aid interpretation and thus add a new dimension to our knowledge of the past.
Keywords: Assessment and Characterisation, Presentation and Interpretation, Research & Archives
© Southampton archaeology/Dr A D Russel