For builders Robbie Kearney and Paul Trapper, it appeared to be an ordinary working day – to build a drainage – but half an hour after the works began, it turned into a detective story that has since captured the attention of the whole of England. Kearney said he initially thought he had stumbled upon animal bones, but after digging further he was confronted by an unpleasant surprise.
"Then I went a bit deeper and found a skull. That's when I realised they were human remains. It came as a bit of a shock as I've never found a skull before", he told the Wiltshire Times.
Kearney and his colleague immediately halted works and informed the owners of the house, who in their turn called the police.
Forensic experts established that the remains belonged to three adults, one juvenile, and one child and likely date back to the medieval period.
"From what our team has identified so far, these look like Christian graves representing people of different ages and of both genders, so they may represent the place where there had been an earlier church in Saxon or later times", said Sam Fox, director at the Wiltshire Council, who dubbed the discovery "exciting".
The remains were dug out 100 yards away from the 12th century church of St Peter and St Paul, which led local historian Joe Charlesworth to suggest that they were from a "plague pit". "Rumour has it that there are more in the village", Charlesworth said.
According to the owner of the house, Matthew Jackson, the discovery has sparked interest in Heytesbury across England. Preliminary tests suggest that the skeletons date back to the 5th century AD.