Kenilworth’s oldest inhabitant to go on display after 4,000 years

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Kenilworth’s oldest inhabitant will go on show in the town for the first time in 4,000 years after being discovered by archaeologists in Clinton Lane.

A rare burial urn will be displayed in the Abbey Barn Museum from Easter Sunday after being donated to Kenilworth History and Archaeology Society last year.

The bronze urn was unearthed last year during housing excavations by Warwickshire County Council, and is thought to belong to Kenilworth’s earliest known human inhabitant.

Bryn Gethin, Archaeology Warwickshire’s project officer who found the burial site, has dated the remains to the early Bronze Age period, somewhere between 2500BC and 1800BC.

“I was looking for evidence of medieval settlement when we stumbled across the incredible piece of history,” he said. “I was surprised to see what looked like cremated bone fragments in the side of a trench.”

He said that further investigation revealed the bones were underneath a type of prehistoric pot known as a collared urn.

Samples of bone will be sent off to be radiocarbon dated to confirm the age of the burial before more information is known.

Clinton Lane landowner, Stephen Bond is the grandson of the late Herbert Bond who acquired the site in 1917. He said it was a privilege to donate the find to the people of Kenilworth for future generations to enjoy.

Stuart Palmer from Archaeology Warwickshire said that although a few flint tools that are potentially older have been discovered in Kenilworth, this is the oldest item of its kind to be unearthed.

“This is certainly the earliest known human inhabitant of the area,” he said.

“It’s possible the burial was originally covered by a mound that would have been prominent on the skyline but which has long since disappeared.”

Ward councillor, John Whitehouse said: “It’s fantastic that this artefact is returning to Kenilworth and will form a prominent part of the barn museum. I am certain this piece will be an enduring tourist attraction for our town and further reinforces, for future generations, just how steeped in fascinating history Kenilworth is.”

Cllr Jeff Clarke, county portfolio holder for heritage said: “We are very proud of the work done by Archaeology Warwickshire. The Kenilworth Urn is one of their most fascinating finds and well worth a visit at the Abbey Barn Museum when it reopens.”

Visit the archaeology page for more details on the project.

The urn will be on display when the ‘Barn’ reopens for visitors on Easter Sunday (April 5).

The museum will open from 2.30 to 4.30pm each Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday until mid-September.

The museum is staffed by volunteers from KHAS and other local organisations. Admission is free

Visit heritage.warwickshire.gov.uk/archaeology for more details on the burial urn.