A book by Oxford Archaeology South presents the exciting findings of an excavation in 2008 at Kingshill North on the north-eastern edge of Cirencester.

Cirencester Before Corinium takes readers beyond the Roman foundation of the city and uncovers remarkable evidence for Neolithic gatherings, Bronze Age burials and Iron Age settlement.

Significant artefactual material, including Grooved Ware pottery, was recovered from pits dug in the late Neolithic, c 3500-2400 BC. The exceptional finds assemblage points to the seasonal gathering of people for the purpose of exchange and feasting. More evidence of ritual deposition was found in pits dug in the middle Iron Age, c 400-200 BC.

Two Beaker burials, dated c 2400-2000 BC, were recorded. Beaker burials are well known in southern England, but are rare in Gloucestershire. Their presence at Kingshill North is significant in itself, but information about the individuals adds to their importance. Both were females. Isotope analysis indicates that they were born outside the region in the chalkland areas of England, revealing something of the mobility of early Bronze Age populations.

Three burials were found in the enclosure ditch of the late Iron Age farming settlement, occupied between c 100 BC and AD 75. The site was abandoned before the town of Corinium Dobunnorum was established, and as such gives a unique view of Cirencester on the eve of Roman urbanisation. A cremation burial was placed in the ditch after the late 1st century AD. The rite was Roman, but the location harked back to earlier practices.

The book costs £15 and is available through Oxbow Books (http://www.oxbowbooks.com/), or from Oxford Archaeology.