Mass grave of 42 bodies, some with hands tied behind their backs, found on former farmland

The remains of 40 bodies, including some with their hands tied behind their backs, were found in shallow graves in Buckingham (SWNS)

The remains of 42 bodies, including some with their hands tied behind their backs, have been found in shallow graves on a building site.

The grisly remains form a potentially important archaeological discovery – with theories suggesting they could date back to Anglo-Saxon times or the English Civil War. It is also possible that they could be the bodies of criminals who were hanged on the gallows.

The 42 skeletons were found during ground works for a development of 72 retirement flats on former farmland in Buckingham.

The discovery comes just weeks after the graves of dozens of “high-status” Romans were found in Somerset during building work for a new school.

The discovery was made during ground works for a development of 72 retirement flats in Buckingham (SWNS)

The company behind the development, Brio Retirement Living Holdings, part of property firm company Places for People, has been accused by local historians and residents of not declaring the discovery, which was made several weeks ago.

The company commissioned an archaeological investigation of the site as a condition of winning planning permission following a battle over several years.

But campaigners claim nobody has yet seen such a report, including Bucks County Council's Archaeological Service (BCAS).

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District and town councillor Robin Stuchbury said: “This find is of great historical significance to Buckingham and it should not be hushed up.

“I am aware that the bodies were found in December. There were more than 40 of them and they had their hands bound behind their backs, which infers they were prisoners of some kind.”

It is thought the skeletons could date from Anglo Saxon times or from during the English Civil War or possibly even be criminals who were hanged on the gallows (SWNS)

Speculating on how the bodies ended up in the shallow grave, he added: “They could date from Anglo Saxon times, when there were killings in Buckingham, or from during the Civil War, which also saw casualties. Or they could be criminals who were hanged on the gallows in the town.

“The fact is, we have a right to know. This is part of our history.”

The skeletons have since been removed, leaving empty holes behind on the site.

It is not known whether there were any artefacts buried with them that could help date the time of their deaths.

A spokesman for Bucks County Council said: “We are unable to comment on the archaeological remains discovered at the West End Farm site at present, as we are still awaiting a report detailing the results from the archaeological contractors.”

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