» Home > In the News

The massacre … just nine skeletons

19 April 2011

BBC News April 19th was full of it – our Iron Age ancestors were really bloodthirsty brutes and a finger was pointed at the discovery of skeletons in a ditch of a hill fort in Derbyshire. One was given the impression there were hundreds of bodies of women and children thrown haphazardly into the ditch but it seems the story was embroidered by the journalist or an editor. It speculated on what might have happened to the menfolk, for instance, and the general gist conveyed was that as prisoners of war they had been sold into slavery. This idea ignores what happened to their bodies – if the fort was beseiged and taken (see www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13082240?print=true ). The same story pops up at a major source of BBC information, TheGuardian. On their website at www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/apr/18/iron-age-hill-fort-graves-peak-di… it says that just nine skeletons have been found which indicates the BBC broadcast version was mainly conjectural. Of course, during further excavations in coming years further bodies may be found – but not necessarily just the bones of women and children. However, the conjecture may have its origins in the words of an archaeologist. They are prone to speculate where evidence is lacking. If so why was this story projected into a major feature of the news throughout the day?

Skip to content