Skeletons at the farm

The Greystones Guy

The Greystones Guy - Credit: Archant

Recent archaeological excavations at Gloucestershire Wildlife Trusts’ Greystones Farm nature reserve have identified significant archaeological remains dating to the Iron Age, including two human burials.

The Greystones Guy being carefully uncovered

The Greystones Guy being carefully uncovered - Credit: Archant

The nature reserve on the outskirts of Bourton-on-the-Wateris home to Salmonsbury Camp, a scheduled ancient monument, the only lowland example

of a large multivallate hill fort in England.

The discovery earlier this month was part of work by Cotswold Archeology who excavated an area of the farmyard in preparation for a new farm building. The archaeological works are the first major excavations at Salmonsbury Camp since the 1930s when a late Iron Age date for the hill fort was established.

The recent works revealed a possible roundhouse and a series of large pits that had probably been used to store grain. Crouched human burials had been deliberately placed in two of the pits when they were finally obsolete, a tradition that is commonly encountered throughout the Iron Age. The pottery recovered during these works suggests that this activity is dated to the middle Iron Age, and therefore predates the construction of the hill fort by at least 100 years.

The reserve is the Trusts’ only working farm in the county. It is managed for both wildlife and its historical importance as well as being a working farm.

Tom Beasley-Suffolk, Reserves Manager for the Cotswolds, said: “It has been fascinating to see what were slightly dark areas of ground be excavated to reveal pot and human remains that probably last saw the light of day 2,500 years ago.”

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The finds will be cleaned up and analysed by Cotswold Archeology, to build a picture about our Iron Age ancestors at Greystones Farm nature reserve. This will add to The Trusts’ ambitions to tell the story of Salmonsbury’s rich heritage to residents, schools and visitors, which may include the construction of a roundhouse.


Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, Conservation Centre, Robinswood Hill Country Park, Reservoir Road, Gloucester, GL4 6SX. Tel. 01452 383333, Fax. 01452 383334. Registered charity: 232580