Ancient remains found on beach are laid to rest

Nigel Rigden

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A CHILD who discovered part of an ancient skull at the beach has returned to pay his respects at the burial.

Sawyer Clarke-Smith, seven, from Bath, discovered the skull at West Wittering beach when out walking with his grandparents.

Experts from Chichester District Council believe the skull might be that of a French male prisoner, or a soldier at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

Local PCSO Rosie Bainbridge said: ‘Sawyer was out walking and spotted an unusual shape in the sand.

‘He has such an inquiring mind – some children, even me might have never picked it up. He took the trouble to look into it a bit deeper.

‘Sawyer really wanted to keep the skull as a trophy, but when he found out he couldn’t he wanted to come back for the interment.

‘His enthusiasm has rubbed off on his classmates back in Bath, and the class want to start a project about the battle.

The interment took place in the churchyard of St Peter and St Paul at West Wittering.

James Kenny, archaeology officer at Chichester District Council, said: ‘These prisoners of war were kept in hulks (old warships) moored around the coast.

‘Those who died would be buried in the mud, often with little ceremony.’