3,500-year-old urn containing cremated human remains is unearthed in Peak District

Remains of a Bronze Age cremation urn (length approx 22cm).
Remains of a Bronze Age cremation urn (length approx 22cm).

An ancient earthen ware pot containing cremated human remains has been discovered by a worker repairing a footpath in the Peak District.

The urn, believed to date back about 3,500 years, was found on the Roaches nature reserve, near Leek, by contractor Kieran Fogarty while digging a trench to reinforce a popular footpath.

Ken Smith, cultural heritage manager for the Peak District National Park, said: “Kieran did exactly the right thing – by contacting us so quickly we were able to get out to the site and identify what he had uncovered.

“From the type and style of the pot, and its contents, we identified it as a Bronze Age cremation urn and knew we needed to move quickly to conserve the remains.”

Ken, cultural heritage team colleagues and volunteers carried out a rescue excavation to gain as much archaeological material and information from the site as possible.

He added: “We are now looking for funding for post-excavation work so that specialists can study the urn.”