BICESTER NEWS: Saxon skeletons unearthed in car park

WORKERS building a new community centre at Bicester’s Church of the Immaculate Conception have unearthed twelve Anglo-Saxon skeletons.

The church car park, the site of the new community centre, was originally built over a burial ground thought to be linked to a former Saxon minster located near St Edburg’s Church.

The Saxon cemetery was originally thought to be west of the development, but excavations have revealed the cemetery extending further east.

Archaeological consultant Matthew Smith said: “The location of the new community centre is being constructed in an area, which in Saxon times, was a focus of religious faith.

“The Saxon people of Bicester who were interred in the cemetery would have had a distinct sense of local community. It seems fitting that this new building is sustaining a long history of kinship within Bicester.”

Early indications suggest bodies were buried facing east, according to Christian tradition of the time.

Following examination by experts, the twelve skeletons will be interred in the church’s new memorial garden, respecting their original burial rites.