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Littell's Living Age/Volume 132/Issue 1704/Miscellany

Remains of an Ancient Village in Oxford. — A discovery of a most remarkable nature has been made during the last few days in the course of preparing the ground for the new University Schools in High Street, Oxford. The site chosen for the schools was occupied by the Angel Hotel, and lies between High Street, Merton Street, University College, and King Street, embracing an area of about two acres. The excavations have now been made to a depth of about fifteen feet, and the earth having been cleared away has left standing a number of mounds of gravel, which, on closer examination, are seen to be the walls which divided circular pits. In some cases the wall is not more than six inches thick, while in others the division is of greater thickness, but all the spaces are of the same shape, namely, circular, although they differ in size. One very perfect specimen, situated on the west side, is of a remarkable character. It is much larger than the others, and being on the extreme edge of the site only one-half has been exposed. The appearance presented is that of a semicircular excavation in the gravel, the base of the semicircle being formed by the earth and foundations of the adjoining building. This large pit has adjoining it a much smaller one, which probably served as the entrance, and at the point of junction between the two there is a bench or narrow platform. In two of the pits have been found concrete floors (these being the only two that have been at present carefully examined) of such tenacity that it was possible to remove the half of one of them without fracture. At the bottom of another were found some pieces of decayed wood. In removing the rubbish and earth several objects of great interest have been found, including a portion of a Runic cross, a Saxon knife and arrow-head, etc., and also a very large number of bones, principally of domestic animals. The discovery has caused considerable interest in university circles.