Mar 2 2005 By Andrew Heath An important archaeological discovery has led experts to believe Ryton-on-Dunsmore was home to a high-ranking Iron Age family more than 2,000 years ago. Scientists have found the first-ever complete example of an Iron Age kiln, which they believe a prehistoric family may have used to turn smelt iron into tools or jewellery. The clay oven was unearthed on the site of a £3 million safety improvement scheme on the A45, near the junction with the A445. Before, fragments of kilns had been dug up elsewhere in Britain, but the Ryton discovery means scientists will be able to work out exactly what they were used for. Stuart Palmer, who directed the project on behalf of Warwickshire Museum Archaeology Group, believes the family were important because they used the oven to work metal. He said: "At the time people who dealt with metal work were almost considered to be like magicians because the ability to turn essentially rocks into something useful was unbelievable to them. "But until now, no-one has known what the oven was used for, so this is a significant find because we have the complete structure and can work out what they did with it." The kiln, which had been deliberately buried, stood around a metre high and half a metre wide and Mr Palmer estimates it would have weighed around 10 stones. Alongside the kiln was an iron brooch, the earliest of its type ever found in Warwickshire as well as fragments of late Stone Age and Bronze Age pottery and flint tools. Excavations also revealed remains of roundhouses and an unusual crescent-shaped ditch, which experts believe may have been an unusual form of shrine. Although the latest discovery has made has made the Ryton site particularly significant, it is one of a string of similar sites in Warwickshire. Others exist close to the police training centre in Ryton, in Bubbenhall, and archae-ologists have described a "massive complex" near Church Lawford. At the time the kiln was made, apart from a few large population centres in the south, the UK was largely agricultural with small groups living by farming the land. Results of tests on the kiln will take months to complete and may not even be known for years.