Archaeologists have discovered the human remains of around 200 people, believed to belong to a Christian community going back to the 6th century at a popular beach in Pembrokeshire.
The remains at the foot of the dunes in Pembrokeshire’s Whitesands Bay, to the west of St. David’s, will be stored at the National Museum of Wales.
A team from Dyfed Archaeological Trust and the University of Sheffield are studying other secrets the dunes hold before they are lost to natural erosion and storms.
Archaeologists have been interested in this area for several decades since the early 1920s. So far, teams have exposed almost 100 graves following two excavations in 2015 and 2016.
The Dyfed Archaeological Trust said there is “still a significant amount of evidence left to excavate,” including an “intriguing stone structure which pre-dates the burials”.
Detailed analysis by the University of Sheffield indicate that the burials included a mix of men, women, and children. The bodies were aligned with the head pointing west and without possessions, in keeping with early Christian burial traditions.
Jenna Smith at Dyfed Archaeological Trust, leading the excavation, said the preservation of the bones is “absolutely incredible” because they have been completely submerged in sand.
“It’s really important that we do so because it gives that snapshot in time which we don’t normally get in Wales,” Smith told the BBC.
“The bone doesn’t normally exist, and the main reason that we’re here is because we are here to stop the bones and the burials from eroding into the sea.”
The site will be refilled after excavation ends on July 16.