Interesting Artical. from 2007
Police station had old rifles in foundations
A remarkable gun haul, including rifles of the type used in the Anglo-Zulu war and one that may have come home with the allied withdrawal from North Russia in 1919, has been found in the foundations of an old Suffolk police station. It offers a chilling insight into the types of weapon in public circulation in the 1920s.
Suffolk county council Archaeological Service had its eye on the site of the former prison and adjacent station in Ipswich, planned for residential development, as some Anglo-Saxon pottery kilns had been found nearby; urns and human bone were recorded when the prison was built in 1786.
"I was visiting the site", Mark Sommers tells British Archaeology, "to see how deep the foundations of the police station were, and to assess how much damage was being done by their grubbing out. The rifles had been recovered by the machine operator the previous day".
Taff Gillingham, Suffolk Regiment Museum historian and proprietor of Khaki Devil, military advisors for film and television, says that several guns were probably destroyed before the driver realised what was happening. "That's not the half of it boy", one local told him, "there's much more there".
Even so 74 guns were recovered, all much corroded. They fall, says Gillingham, into two distinct groups. The first contains some 30 Martini-Henrys from the 1870s and 80s, classic armaments from the 1879 Anglo-Zulu war; several show two Board of Ordnance arrows head-to-head, a government disposal mark. Gillingham thinks these may have come from an armoury in the prison, demolished when the police station was rebuilt in the 1930s. Some of the rifles were in concrete from the station foundations.
The rest, says Gillingham, are "a real mixture": a variety of 19th century Martini-Henry carbines (used by police and cadets), Winchesters ("wild west guns"), Boer war souvenirs, an 1850s three band Enfield musket, a first world war German carbine, a Canadian Ross and others including a Mosin Nagant rifle which Gillingham suggests was brought back from Russia in 1919. This second group, he says, may consist of guns handed in by the public and buried during the years after the government illegalised "war trophies" in 1926.
The Suffolk Archaeological Service will further evaluate the site. As part of the development the old county hall, a listed building which was set against the front wall of the former prison, will be converted for residential use