Dozens of human sacrifice victims discovered in Oxfordshire

Workers installing water pipes have found the bodies of 26 people believed to been killed as human sacrifices.

The ‘gruesome discovery’ was made near Wantage, Oxfordshire, where skeletons were discovered along with evidence of dwellings, animals carcasses and various household items including pottery and a decorative comb.

The bodies have now been removed for further analysis, allowing Thames Water to continue work on a six-kilometre pipe.

It’s believed the victims were slaughtered more than two centuries ago, during the Iron Age.

A view of one skeleton found in Oxfordshire (Image: Thames Water)
It’s feared the people found in the graves were killed during bloody human sacrifice rituals (Image: Thames Water)

Neil Holbrook, chief executive of Cotswold Archaeology, said: ‘The new Thames Water pipeline provided us with an opportunity to examine a number of previously unknown archaeological sites.

‘The Iron Age site at Childrey Warren was particularly fascinating as it provided a glimpse into the beliefs and superstitions of people living in Oxfordshire before the Roman conquest. Evidence elsewhere suggests that burials in pits might have involved human sacrifice.

‘The discovery challenges our perceptions about the past, and invites us to try to understand the beliefs of people who lived and died more than 2,000 years ago.”

Paolo Guarino, Cotswold Archaeology project officer, added: ‘These findings open a unique window into the lives and deaths of communities we often know only for their monumental buildings, such as hillforts or the Uffington White Horse.

‘The results from the analysis of the artefacts, animal bones, the human skeletons and the soil samples will help us add some important information to the history of the communities that occupied these lands so many years ago.’


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