A MASS of animal bones found on the Kinecroft in Wallingford could indicate that the town had a hitherto unknown tannery on the site.

The dig by the universities of Oxford, Exeter and Leicester found the bones of cattle and other farm animals - and the experts said there could have been a tannery on what would have been the edge of the town, kept away from the centre because tanning is a smelly business.

The excavators worked on sites on Kinecroft, Bullcroft and Castle Meadows as part of an ongoing Burh to Borough mapping of the town's development from Norman through Saxon and medieval times.

The university experts were helped by Wallingford Museum, the Northmoor Trust and members of Wallingford Historical and Archaeological Society.

Museum curator and local historian Judy Dewey said: "Hopes that a road would be found on the Kinecroft within the Saxon ramparts were not fulfilled but knowing there was no road is important too.

"There was a lot of medieval pottery and evidence of early ploughing.

"The Castle site revealed a large solid chalky platform beneath which was a dark layer containing medieval pottery.

"It seems likely the platform was a 17th-century Civil War bastion.

"A surprise on the Kinecroft was remains of a timber building from the 12th and 13th centuries.

"Although the digging is over, the analysis continues and the results will be published."

Other finds from the digs included clay pipe fragments, oyster shells, willow pattern pottery, Roman and Saxon pottery, an 11th-century metal strip with two dragons with interlaced tails - and a 20th-century flick knife.