A BRONZE Age cemetery could scupper plans for a 160-hectare gravel extraction pit on the Thames.

Aggregate and waste disposal firm Hills wants to develop the site between Clifton Hampden, Appleford and Long Wittenham.

It says five million tonnes of gravel could be extracted over the site’s 20-year lifespan — 250,000 tons per year.

But villagers say the pit would ruin the countryside and have asked English Heritage to make a Bronze Age burial mound beneath the site a scheduled monument, protected against disturbance.

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That would mean Hills would have to apply for consent for its gravel pit to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

An English Heritage spokesman confirmd the application: “We have received an application to assess the site at the Fullamoor Plantation on the north side of the Thames for scheduling and are considering this at the moment.’’