Iron Age woman from the Sowy River

A local dog walker found a human skull in the Sowy River in 2017 and the Police dated the remains to the middle Iron Age. Further work by SWHT has revealed that she was a mature woman, aged over 45, who suffered considerably from gum disease and tooth loss.  Her diet included coarse material, which had unevenly worn her remaining teeth, and resulted in severe osteoarthritis in the joint of her right jaw. She had also suffered at least one episode of chronic illness or nutritional stress during childhood. The woman’s head appears to have been deliberately removed at, or shortly after death. Analysis of snails in the skull showed that it had been deposited in shallow moving freshwater. Examination of the findspot revealed a narrow band of Iron Age deposits eroding into the river with an alignment of two rows of roundwood posts that may represent a walkway or platform a few metres from where the skull was deposited.

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