Cirencester Roman dig is ‘history changing’


Share post:

Excavations in Cirencester have unearthed one of the earliest burial sites ever found in Roman Britain. 

Archaeologists have uncovered more than 40 burials at the site [Credit: BBC]

The dig at the former Bridges Garage on Tetbury Road has uncovered over 40 burials and four cremations. 

Experts say it is the largest archaeological find in the town since the 1970s. 

Neil Holbrook, chief executive at Cotswold Archaeology, said he could not “underestimate the potential significance” of the discovery. 

Archaeologists said they were particularly excited by the discovery of a child’s grave containing a pottery flagon, which could date to the early Roman period, between 70 AD and 120 AD. 

They said if the burial could be dated to this time, it could “challenge the current belief amongst archaeologists” that inhumation burials were not common practice until the later Roman period. 

“Whilst we are being cautious, we can’t underestimate the potential significance this discovery could have for archaeologists in Britain,” said Mr Holbrook. 

“Our specialists are working hard to provide further information to try to confirm the dating of this site.” 

‘Amazing so much has survived’ 

A dig on the same site, carried out in the 1960s before the construction of the garage, unearthed 46 cremations, six burials and part of an inscribed tombstone dating from the 1st to 3rd Century. 

Project manager for Cotswold Archaeology, Cliff Bateman, said: “It is amazing that so much archaeology has survived the comprehensive building works.” 

The former Bridges Garage site lies immediately outside the town, suggesting the burial site complied with Roman law that forbade burial within the town. 

Among items discovered were two bracelets made of green glass beads, jet beads, shale and copper alloy. 

Sonia Gravestock, of St James’s Place Wealth Management which owns the site, said: “We were excited to discover that such a significant Roman site was located under our feet.” 

The finds will now be conserved, and the skeletons examined at Cotswold Archaeology’s head office. 

It is hoped that some of the finds will be put on show to the public in Cirencester’s Corinium Museum. 

Source: BBC News Website [November 17, 2011]



Related articles

Archeologists find artifacts at Fairfax County site that was a bustling port

Centreville resident Karen Schweikart digs history. Bent over a shallow pit on a recent Saturday morning, Schweikart, with...

Multi-sensors fire shield to protect ancient sites

The village of Olympos, located near the ancient city of Rhodiapolis, in the Antalya region of Turkey, escaped...

40,000 shipwrecks waiting to be found off British coast, says Historic England

Nearly 40,000 shipwrecks are waiting to be discovered along the British coast, Historic England has said, after awarding...

The unlikely saviours of Libya’s Roman remains

Ali Hribish stands by the Arch of Septimius Severus which dominates Libya's ancient city of Leptis Magna, brandishing...

Forest mortality and climate change: The big picture

Over the past two decades, extensive forest death triggered by hot and dry climatic conditions has been documented...

Fossils of ancient, microscopic worms dating back 530 million years discovered

A team of Virginia Tech researchers have discovered fossils of kinorhynch worms -- commonly known as mud dragons...

Assyrian period fortifications unearthed in Ashdod

An archaeological team headed by Dr. Alexander Fantalkin of Tel Aviv university has announced the discovery of one...

Climate modeler identifies trigger for Earth’s last big freeze

For more than 30 years, climate scientists have debated whether flood waters from melting of the enormous Laurentide...