A NEAR-COMPLETE cow skeleton, metal from a brooch and bucketfuls of pottery are among the hidden treasures lurking beneath Oxfordshire's newest secondary school site.

Parents and children were invited along to get their first glimpse at The Swan School site currently under construction at the Harlow Centre in Marston.

Families, complete with coats and wellies to brave Storm Hannah, were given a short tour of the site on Saturday, as well as the lowdown from Cotswold Archaeology on their past four weeks at the site.

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Work started on the site, which will eventually be home to Oxford's first new secondary school in more than half a century, in late February.

The building site has so far been prepared for construction and for the past month archaeologists have been scouring the grounds for hidden treasures.

Features of interest already uncovered include a series of ditches dating from Iron Age, Roman and Medieval times.

Cotswold Archaeology project officer James Cayne said the team had uncovered a lot more items than expected.

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He added: “This is a particularly interesting site, not only because of the amount of finds. I would say also because of what it tells us about the activity taking place, there has been a lot of agricultural finds but also industrial stuff land the kiln.

"It is quite rare especially in this region.”

The Cotswold Archaeology team on site Saturday including Bethany Hardcastle, Anna Mossbauer, and Ioannis Smyrnaios said it was one of the more interesting projects of late and this was largely down to the amount of pottery that has been found underground.

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Ms Mossbauer said: "This special thing about this site, particularly in Marston, is that it is an area which hasn't had much [excavation work] done.

"This does contribute quite significantly, for archaeology it will have quite an impact."

Archaeological excavations will continue for another couple of weeks at the site which will eventually be home to the Harlow Centre and the Swan School.

Oxford Mail:

The Ray family, including future Swan School pupil Isaac, were among the first families to tour the site.

Mum Kirsty Ray said: “As Isaac will be a student here we were all keen to have a look round, and it is quite interesting to see it like this. It is not often part of the process the public can be involved in.

“It seems much bigger space than we expected."

The construction is expected to start soon on the school which is being built to address a shortfall in pupil places across the city.

Plans are in place for the school to open in its permanent site from September 2020 at the earliest.

Prior to this, permission has been given to run the school from temporary cabins at The Cherwell School from September, while building works are completed.

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In January, headteacher Kay Wood was appointed to lead the school and for many families who visited for the day it was the first chance to meet Ms Wood.

She said: "It has been really positive, I am overwhelmed at how many people came down to see the site - about 25 families I believe.

"It has been nice to speak with them all and to have the community involved in the process.

"It gives us a sense of history - it is important to me for the project to very much be rooted within the community its serving."