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Unique Iron Age Whistle Found At Brett Quarry Site

One of the most unusual and exciting discoveries

Archaeologists excavating a Brett Aggregates quarry site at Coddenham, near Ipswich have unearthed one of the most unusual and exciting discoveries found in England this year - an antler whistle buried in a pit along with pottery and other discarded items. 

The whistle is a simple one-hole instrument made from a tine of deer antler and is believed to be the first such whistle ever to be found in England.  

Andrew Josephs, the project’s archaeological consultant, described finding the whistle as extremely exciting as well as being topical: “Other examples come from continental Europe, so it raises the question of immigration, the sharing of technology or trade with Europe over 2000 years ago

Archaeologists from Suffolk County Council’s Archaeological Service have also uncovered more of a later Iron Age (300BC-1AD) settlement with at least two circular round-houses, granaries that would have been raised off the ground on four posts and pits containing large quantities of domestic refuse.  

Children from the local Henley Primary School visited the archaeological dig  to see the whistle and were given a real flavour of what life must have been like for the Iron Age settlers.  The children were also able to handle some finds from other sites across the county including everyday tools and pottery. 

Iron Age man was quarrying here 2000 years ago, although for clay not sand and probably for use in pottery making. A large quarry pit has been excavated, the second such example found on the site

Edward Martin, Suffolk County Council’s Archaeological Officer added that: “These recent discoveries provide important evidence for the way people were living and working in the later Iron Age in this part of Suffolk.”  

Brett Aggregates General Manager, Olly Brown says “Assisting the archaeological examination of the land is a crucial first stage of any of our site developments and we are delighted that here it has resulted in a rare and very special find.”