Harrow Way Year 10 History students have been learning about crime and punishment in the Middles Ages from one of the UK’s top supplier of professional heritage services, Cotswolds Archaeology. With a Saxon burial ground found close to Harrow Way earlier this year the focus of the talk was the discovery at the new Aldi site and the relevance this has to the students’ current studies.

Archaeologist Jez Clutterbuck explained how the 124 skeletons were found, sharing some powerful images of skeletons with their hands tied behind their backs, skeletons without limbs and even one or two random heads without their bodies. The students were fascinated to hear about the positioning of the bodies with some found as expected for a normal grave site of that time, lined up evenly in rows next to each other. However, the majority of bodies found were simply discarded on top of each other, haphazardly placed.

Callie Essop, Harrow Way’s Curriculum Leader for Humanities said: “It was incredible to hear that so many bodies were found this close to the school. Cotswold Archaeology has managed to date the skeletons to the Anglo-Saxon period as they also found a coin amongst the bodies. It was fascinating for our students to be learning about a time which is over 600 years old which can be evidenced right here on their very door step. Although Jez and his team originally identified a number of skeleton which would have belonged to younger people (late teens, early twenties) they won’t start the reconstruction and cataloguing until January following which we hope he will return and tell the students more about this important find in Andover”.

For the Harrow Way students having Jez visit the school and talk through the local discovery gave them a real-life (and close to home) example of lessons currently being studied. Callie Essop explains further: “I always say how important trips outside the classroom are as it makes learning come alive and ‘real’. Students saw examples of normal members of a Saxon society, perhaps criminals, be punished in various ways, which is exactly what we are have been exploring in class”.