Archeologist are trying to understand a very puzzling discovery that they have made while a site was being excavated in preparation for a new highway just north of Cambridge, England. Thousands of frog bones have been buried together in a ditch running about forty-six feet long.
The pit of bones date back to at least two-thousand years ago and sits next to a roundhouse at Bar Hill, where a settlement stood being in use during the middle and late Iron Age era (400 B.C.E. to 43 C.E.). The bones are from at least three-hundred and fifty individual frogs, most being the same species of amphibian. The question is how did they end up in the ditch?
Researchers are trying to figure out that answer. “This is a puzzling and unexpected find, which we are still trying to fully understand,” Vicki Ewens, senior archaeozoologist at the Museum of London Archaeology, said in a statement. “This accumulation of frog remains may have been caused by a number of different factors, possibly interacting over a long period of time.”
The mystery behind the accumulation of frog skeletons has many possible explanations. One possibility could be that they simply fell into the ditch and couldn’t manage to escape out of it. Breeding season could have seen the frogs all migrating as a mass group seeking water to mate in.
A second possible reason could have been a rampant virus that infected them all at once, which has happened and is not unheard of. In the 1980s, frogs were impacted and killed in astronomical numbers right in the U.K. from a Ranavirus, a disease that are infectious to amphibians and reptiles.
The frogs could have also frozen to death during a bad winter freeze. These types of land-based amphibians are known to burrow underground in hibernation; however, if the season was particularly bad and the winter temperature became cold enough it could have killed them regardless.
The critical discoveries that can be made when determining the cause of mass mortality events can hold the key to new studies, medicines, and answers about our world in order to make it a better place. Archeologist continue to study the bones and are attempting to find more clues.
The Iron Age in Northern Britain examines the archaeological evidence for earlier Iron Age communities from the southern Pennines to the Northern and Western Isles and the impact of Roman expansion on local populations, through to the emergence of historically-recorded communities in the post-Roman period.
The text has been comprehensively revised and expanded to include new discoveries and to take account of advanced techniques, with many new and updated illustrations. The volume presents a comprehensive picture of the ‘long Iron Age’, allowing readers to appreciate how perceptions of Iron Age societies have changed significantly in recent years.
New material in this second edition also addresses the key issues of social reconstruction, gender, and identity, as well as assessing the impact of developer-funded archaeology on the discipline. Drawing on recent excavation and research and interpreting evidence from key studies across Scotland and northern England, The Iron Age in Northern Britain continues to be an accessible and authoritative study of later prehistory in the region.
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