Human remains have been unearthed near Buckingham, as part of an excavation organised by the community.
The surprise find was made at Maids Moreton mound by David Saunders, of the University of Buckingham, and budding archaeologist Rosie Tysom, 10, on August 16.
The discovery shocked organisers of the Maid Moreton Mound project, which has worked tirelessly to uncover countless bones, instruments and pieces of pottery dating back to the 11th century.
David Saunders said: “There was an air of excitement, alongside a sense of trepidation. With one bone it could be anything.”
“As soon as we found the second bone we know we had a human body. We had to close down the trench completely and phone the police.”
Thames Valley Police were called to the scene to inspect the findings and ensure that the remains were not linked to any ongoing investigations.
Rosie Tysom, whose parents run the Meadow Bank Guest House and own the land where the project is taking place, showed bravery in the face of a startling discovery.
She said: “I wasn’t scared, it felt kind of exciting; I’ve only ever see this kind of thing on TV and never in real life.”
Although further investigation is required, experts at the dig believe the medieval man could have been buried as part of a Pagan ceremony, based on the direction in which he lies and the pottery found near him. A small pair of black tongs were also discovered by his side.
The team have now applied for a special licence to be able to exhume the skeleton further, and hope to return in the coming months to delve deeper into the discovery.
Susan Fern, the project’s site director, said: “We've had to stop as we are required to apply for a license to excavate any further. Were applying for the license, so if we get it, we'll come back and unearth it.
“As far as we are aware the site didn't have any ecclesiastical connection. We didn’t believe we would find anyone buried there so it was a big shock to us. There are a few strange questions about him at the moment but hopefully we can answer them soon.”
The headline discovery has capped off a successful fortnight for the Maids Moreton Mound project, who began exploring the site for the first time since 2015 on August 7.
Alongside the skeleton, further evidence of an 11th century medieval manor house has been uncovered by the archeological team, as well as a defensive wall.
Organiser Lynda Robinson said: “This has been such a community effort and couldn’t have been done without our volunteers, diggers and pot washers.”
“We have to say thank you to Mr and Mrs Tysom for allowing us to use their land, and for taking part, and to all members of the Maids Moreton Conservation group.”
The project has been generously funded through the Council of British Archaeology, and backed by the Active Archaeology Group and Bucks Archaeological Society. Paragon Tool Hire have also donated equipment for the group to use.
Organisers hope to add this year’s findings to an exhibition dedicated to their efforts, at the Old Gaol Museum in Buckingham, who have been helping them store pieces this year.
The group are holding guided tours on August 19 at 2pm to allow members of the public to visit the site and experience the discovery firsthand. For more information, head to www.facebook.com/mmmproject.co.uk