A QUICK-THINKING builder saved Bronze Age funeral remains from certain destruction at a building site in Tidworth.

Bob Gaunt, who works as an excavator for groundwork contractors Dean and Dyball, spotted the remains while working on an Army housing project at a site inside the Tidworth garrison.

During excavation work within the Bhurtpore Barracks, Mr Gaunt spotted something unusual poking up from the ground and alerted his supervisor, who immediately sealed the area off to allow experts from Wessex Archaeology to investigate.

The archaeologists found four graves in total, all of which contained cremated ashes that had been covered in ancient pottery.

Early estimates anticipate the graves originated from the Bronze Age, the same time as Stonehenge was constructed, and could be anywhere up to 3,500 years old.

Nick Truckle, project manager with Wessex Archaeology, said: "If these graves are as old as we think they are then they would be the oldest find we have had in Tidworth.

"This find was interesting because the four graves were lying in a line and as the graves are so close together, this small cemetery may have been a family one."

The archaeologists were able to remove the remains from the site and take them to a laboratory where they will be studied to establish the age and sex of the dead and get a more precise estimate of how old they are.

Peter Caddick, a spokesman for Aspire Defence who are overseeing the project, said: "This was an example of excellent work on site where our control measures working to archaeological constraints have been adopted with minimal disruption or delay to the ongoing construction work."