Archaeologists were raising a toast today after finding this perfectly-preserved Iron Age skeleton – under a pub car park.
The 2,000-year-old remains – dubbed Rusty – were unearthed by experts excavating land at the Horse & Groom pub in the Cotswolds.
It was curled up in the foetal position and had been given a full and proper burial – unusual for the time.
Rusty was painstakingly excavated and sent away for laboratory analysis to determine exactly how and when he died.
Tom Greenstock, who owns the pub in Bourton-on-the-Hill, Gloucestershire, with his brother Will, said: “It was found in a foetal position, it is believed that it dates from the late Iron Age, approximately 100BC.
“Although its gender is yet to be confirmed, it is thought to be a male.
“The skeleton appears to have had a full burial, something that is relatively rare for this period.
“Having been carefully excavated and exhumed, Rusty, as he has been nicknamed, will be sent to a specialist osteo-archaeological laboratory for analysis, to determine the age and hopefully the cause of death.”
Rusty was discovered after Tom and Will were given permission for a new car park, on the condition the half-acre field was excavated for archaeology first.
Within days Medieval walls of a former farm were revealed, with ten rooms surrounding a courtyard – an unusual arrangement for a medieval settlement.
Archaeologists from around the country flocked to the site before the team spent 11 weeks digging deeper to discover the remarkably preserved skeleton.
Rusty’s final resting place will be the Corinium Museum, in Cirencester, leaving way for the car park next summer.