A near-pristine Bronze Age spearhead has been found in a village near Swindon.

The spearhead, which is more than 3,000 years old, was discovered just a few feet under the ground during excavation work as part of a project to build a wetlands at a Thames Water sewage works in South Cerney.

Other finds included pottery and animal bones, along with evidence of roads and dwellings from the Roman and Bronze Age periods. 

Thames Water worked alongside Cotswold Archaeology on the project, with the ancient items now being examined and catalogued at the group’s base in Cirencester. They could then be displayed at the Corinium Museum.

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Thames Water archaeologist Victoria Reeve said: “We’re thrilled to have uncovered such interesting finds during our work at the site, including the spearhead which we believe to be thousands of years old and is still in great condition.

“We knew we were likely to come across something interesting while carrying out the work, which is why we took care when digging to avoid damaging anything under the ground, but we were blown away by what we actually discovered.

“We’re still working on the wetlands and hope to complete it in the coming months.” 
Alex Thomson, Cotswold Archaeology's project manager, added: “On the first day we were here, on almost the first machine scrape, this beautiful spearhead popped out of the top of a Bronze Age pit. They’re very rare to find, very special artefacts.

“We knew the site had archaeological potential but we didn’t quite expect the extent of what we uncovered. It’s always exciting as you never know what you’re going to find – it could be absolutely nothing or, as in this instance, you could find more than you bargained for.”

The new wetlands will cover about four hectares of floodplain on the south of the site, providing a habitat for a range of wildlife including amphibians, insects and wading and migratory birds. 

The spearhead was the latest in a string of interesting archaeological finds uncovered by Thames Water. In 2019, the water company discovered 26 human skeletons, thought to be about 3,000 years old, during a £14.5m water pipe scheme in Oxfordshire.

Cotswold Archaeology also excavated that site and believed that some of the remains, thought to be from the Iron Age and Roman periods, may have been from ritual burials.