16/05/03 Ancient Skull

10:30 – 16 May 2003

An Ancient skull thought t be that of an Iron Age man has been found in a field. The cranium, which could be up to 2,700 years old, was found near Fiskerton, east of Lincoln, by 34-year-old Erik Grigg.

Shocked by what could have been a gruesome discovery Mr Grigg (34), who runs Ed’s Music, in The Mall, High Street, Lincoln, called the police.

Officers visited the field and took away the head for forensic analysis but determined that it had belonged to someone who died thousands of years ago.

The skull has since been examined by forensic scientists at the University of Lincoln, and specialists at the Lincoln City Archaeology Unit.

Dr Ron Dixon, a principal lecturer in forensic science at the university’s department of biological sciences, said it could date back to the Iron Age.

He said further tests would give a more definite idea of the skull’s age.

Dr Dixon said: “We don’t know very much about it at the moment.

“Although it could be from the late Iron Age – which would place it in a similar time bracket to other archaeological finds from the area

“It could also have been part of a graveyard, or even a medieval fill-site.

“It is fairly complete, and it has been out in the environment. A find of this sort is quite rare, but it does happen from time to time.

“The area between Fiskerton and Washingborough is very well known for its Iron Age archaeology.”

The skull was found in an area which, in recent years, was discovered to be an Iron Age causeway in that region of the River Witham.

Wooden posts in the ground turned out to be part of a 2,500-year-old trackway, probably built so early Britons could cross marshy areas.

Excavations in the area have unearthed a wide range of ancient artefacts, including swords, axes, and an almost perfectly preserved log boat.

The newly-discovered skull will now be dried out and cleaned up in a process which will take many weeks to complete.

It is hoped that samples from soil packed into the skull will show where the skull originated.

Following a thorough examination the skull will be kept at the university as a teaching aid.

Karl Williams, a laboratory technician at the University, said: “It is from a male, and it has been well preserved.

“There is a bit of damage to one side of the face, which could be wear and tear over the years, or perhaps related to the cause of death.”

Mr Grigg said: “I was with my son James, when I saw this these two hollow eyes staring at me. It was really weird.

“I went home and phoned the police, and they came and picked it up.

“It is hard to believe that something so old has survived so well.”