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Pig bones occurred more often in the ditch than those of sheep, and this appears to have been a deliberate, chosen method of disposal.Eighteen human burials were found, eleven of which were of infants. His skeleton had extensive indications of arthritis, particularly in his shoulders and back, with a healed fracture to a leg (tibia) which had developed osteitis.
The excavated baths were covered by a shed until the 1930s.They included a double grave of ‘unique closeness’ – presumably twins. His skull displayed evidence of severe infections in both jaw and sinuses and, to cap it all, his scalp as well. Following the excavation at Micheldever Wood, archaeologists were prepared to accept ‘banjos’ as settlements but, in 1993, Barry Cunliffe excavated such a site at Nettlebank Copse, near Danebury.Far from clarifying the use of these enigmatic enclosures, his work showed that an ‘open’ settlement of pre 300 BC was surrounded by the ‘banjo’ ditch around the time of its abandonment.The evidence suggests that the enclosure was surrounded at that time by both arable and pasture fields, as well as woodland.Within the settlement were at least 14 pits, many of which could have been used for grain storage, and the animal bones recovered showed that cattle, sheep and pigs were present.Rubbish accumulated, including a dead pig and barbed wire, and the hollows were eventually filled in.
Later, aerial photographs showed circular buildings, storage pits, and fenced and ditched fields in the immediate vicinity.
The main activity took place in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, when there may have been more than one family in residence.
By about the year 200, the main buildings were in masonry rather than timber, and included the aisled hall and a narrow building, also used for living and eating in.
‘Banjo’ enclosures are identified by their shape – a more or less circular enclosure, with outer bank, and parallel ditches leading away from a single entrance.
The name was bestowed by B T Perry, when he was studying different forms of Wessex earthworks in the 1960s.
It was not until a huge geological test-pit was dug that the enclosure ditch and Iron Age pottery came to light.