24 July 2024 The Future is the Product of the Past

An Iron Age Necropolis was discovered in the Normandy, northwestern France

A modest Iron Age agricultural settlement excavated at Blainville-sur-Orne in Normandy, northwest France, led to the unexpected discovery of a vast Iron Age necropolis that had been in use for almost 300 years (from 540 to 250 BC).

Although inhumation was the most common mode of burial in the Necropolis, however, the discovery of several secondary cremation burials dating to the 4th century confirmed the coexistence of both types of burial.

The necropolis consists of 121 inhumation graves, six cremation graves, and also found were two funerary enclosures, one square (10 m side) and the other rectangular (10 m x 13 m) with human remains in and around them.

A domestic oven was unearthed in the Iron Age settlement. Photo: Olivier Morin, Inrap
A domestic oven was unearthed in the Iron Age settlement. Photo: Olivier Morin, Inrap

The inhumed individuals were for the most part buried in coffins or formwork built in a pit and were buried with copious metal jewelry (torques, bracelets, brooches, rings).

The Blainville-sur-Orne necropolis is similar in size to the important necropolises of the Caen Plain, such as Eterville (“Le clos des Lilas”) or Ifs (“Object’Ifs Sud”). Studies complement previous data on the practice of cremation, which was particularly poorly documented during the Gallic period.

The agricultural use of this site increased later in the Iron Age, so until the 3rd century BC. the place was fenced off and dotted with storage pits for large crops. Analysis of plant debris in storage pits identified barley, millet, wheat, emmer, peas, and beans. The remains of cattle, goats, pigs, and sheep found in the fencing ditches testify to the diversity of cattle in the settlement. They were not the only sources of food. The shells of 33 species of marine invertebrates – clams, cockles, and oysters – point to settlers who relied on crustaceans for their staple food.

Copper alloy bracelets. Photo: Emmanuelle Collado, Inrap
Copper alloy bracelets. Photo: Emmanuelle Collado, Inrap

Finally, excavations have revealed evidence of metallurgical activities targeting both the settlement’s agricultural purposes (production and maintenance of tools such as plowshares) and artisanal activities (jewelry production). An extremely rare cache with 29 silver, gold, and copper alloy bars dating from 50-30 BC was found in one surrounding ditch. They were probably not intended for goldsmithing, but rather as a form of currency.

Precious metal ingot set. Photo: Emmanuelle Collado, Inrap

It is noteworthy that most of the items found in the necropolis are metal. Of the 167 objects unearthed, 101 are copper alloy jewelry. Ankle bracelets were widely used in the community. One individual was buried wearing a neck torc and ankle bracelets, all copper alloy. Thicker and more ornate specimens were found in other skeletons. One individual had an ankle bracelet made of lignite.

INRAP

Cover Photo: Olivier Morin, Inrap

Related Articles

Maya city Tikal put today’s urban gardens to shame

26 June 2021

26 June 2021

The Maya civilization was known for its achievements in art, architecture, mathematics, astronomy, and calendar systems. Tikal, the ancient Maya...

Archaeologists discover innovative 40,000-year-old culture in China

2 March 2022

2 March 2022

Ancient hunter-gatherers living in what is now China may have been the first people in East Asia to process mustard...

The largest embalming cache ever found in Egypt unearthed at Abusir

10 February 2022

10 February 2022

Archaeologists from the Czech Institute for Egyptian Science have discovered a cache of artifacts related to the practice of Egyptian...

5500-year-old city gate unearthed in Israel -the earliest known in the Land of Israel-

15 August 2023

15 August 2023

The Israel Antiquities Authority announced on Tuesday that archaeologists have discovered the earliest known ancient gate in the land of...

Archaeologists find new clues about North Carolina’s ‘Lost Colony’ from the 16th century

11 May 2024

11 May 2024

Archaeologists from The First Colony Foundation have yielded a tantalizing clue about the fate of the Lost Colony, the settlers...

Man-made Viking-era cave discovered in Iceland Bigger, Older Than Previously Thought

2 June 2022

2 June 2022

Archaeologists from the Archaeological Institute of Iceland have uncovered an extensive system of interconnected structures that are not only much...

The Half of the Rare Oil Lamp Found in Jerusalem May be in Budapest

9 May 2021

9 May 2021

We had recently reported on a grotesque lamp found in Jerusalem. The other half of the oil lamp, which is...

Name of Iranian city identified on 1800-year-old Sassanid clay seal

9 April 2024

9 April 2024

In a stunning archaeological find, the name “Shiraz” was identified on a clay sealing from the Sassanid era written in...

A unique golden sun bowl was discovered during an archaeological survey in Ebreichsdorf, Austria

3 October 2021

3 October 2021

A golden sun bowl and several hundred bronze objects were discovered during archaeological excavations in a prehistoric settlement in today’s...

Surprising Discovery: In Guatemala, archaeologists uncover hidden neighborhood in the ancient Maya city

28 September 2021

28 September 2021

A recent lidar analysis revealed, the region surrounding Central Tikal’s Lost World Complex, which was long thought to be a...

Medieval subterranean corridors found by accident in northeast Iran

1 October 2022

1 October 2022

The workers working on a routine road construction project near Shahr-e Belqeys (City of Belqeys) in northeast Iran made an...

The free online course from the Colchester Museums and University of Reading Department of Archeology

12 July 2021

12 July 2021

The opportunity to be among the first to examine 2,000-year-old cremated remains from Roman Britain and learn about the origins...

In Turkey’s Gedikkaya Cave, a stone figurine was discovered inside a 16,500-year-old votive pit

17 December 2022

17 December 2022

A stone figurine was discovered in a 16500-year-old votive pit belonging to the Epi-paleolithic period, the transition phase from the...

Archaeologists unearth mosaic floors in the ruins of a building they believe is the lost Church of the Apostles

23 October 2021

23 October 2021

In the historical village of Bethsaida on the edge of the Sea of Galilee, archaeologists discovered mosaic floors in the...

Queen Kubaba: Some 4,500 years ago, a woman rose to power and reigned over one of the largest civilizations in ancient Mesopotamia

28 December 2023

28 December 2023

Is it possible to say who was the first queen in history? Given the size and diversity of human civilization,...