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Remains of Thousands of Iron Age Frogs Uncovered in England

Monday, June 13, 2022

CAMBRIDGE, ENGLAND—The Guardian reports that more than 8,000 frog bones were found in a ditch near a roundhouse at Bar Hill, an Iron Age settlement site in the East of England, by researchers from the Museum of London Archaeology Headland Infrastructure who were investigating the area ahead of a highway construction project. “In my experience, mainly working on sites from London, we don’t get that many frogs,” commented zooarchaeologist Vicki Ewens. “To have so many bones coming from one ditch is extraordinary.” The bones belonged to common frogs, common toads, and possible bones of the pool frog, she explained. The bones do not bear cut or burn marks, but if they had been boiled for consumption, the bones may not have been marked, she continued. Otherwise, the frogs may have been drawn to the site by insects feeding on the crops that were processed there, they may have been looking for a body of water during the breeding season and been trapped in the ditch, or they may have succumbed to a severe winter or disease, Ewens concluded. For more on the history of frog consumption in England, go to "World Roundup: England."

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