Roman burials discovered in East England

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A previously undiscovered Roman cemetery has been found by archaeologists working on a Lincoln city centre site. The skeletal remains of two babies and an adult, plus ashes in an urn, were uncovered by the team preparing the ground for the University of Lincoln’s new Sarah Swift building. And archaeologists working on the land between High Street and Brayford Wharf East are excited because the major finds further emphasise the importance of Lindum as a Roman centre.

Roman burials discovered in East England
No indications of a Roman cemetery had been found in the Lincoln area until 
an excavation at the city’s university [Credit: © Allen Archaeology Ltd]

City archaeologist Alastair MacIntosh said: “Previous archaeological work in the area has revealed evidence of Roman buildings dating from the 1st century onwards. And until now it was thought that the area was only used for housing, so this is an exciting discovery.”

TV’s Time Team archaeologist Carenza Lewis, who is Professor for the Public Understanding of Research at the University of Lincoln, said: “We’d expect burials alongside roads leading towards a Roman city, so these discoveries may reflect this area being outside the earliest city.

“And to find two infants in this small assemblage is intriguing. Further analysis might be able to tell us more about why these people were buried in this spot, but the tile covering suggests someone cared about this child. Once all the archaeological work is completed the remains and related finds will be deposited at The Collection museum in Lincoln city centre.”

Roman burials discovered in East England
Previous work had revealed evidence of Roman buildings dating from the 1st century onwards, 
leading archaeologists to belive that the area was only used for housing 
[Credit: © Allen Archaeology Ltd]

The first remains were uncovered last Tuesday, June 14, more than two metres below ground level. So far two infants and the partial skeleton of an adult, who was lying in a prone position, have been found. One of the babies had been carefully buried beneath a roof tile. Nearby were the cremated remains of another individual in an urn. Archaeologists also unearthed a large slab of stone, structures from walls, animal bones and shreds of Roman pottery.

Allen Archaeology project manager Gavin Glover said: “We know that Lincoln was an influential and important Roman city and well-preserved remains have survived. There was significant Roman activity in this area, but we were not expecting to find burials. What we have uncovered so far indicates that we have probably located part of a cemetery used over an extended period of time, but we can’t draw definitive conclusions at this early stage. It’s fair to say that it was not a find that we expected and is very interesting. The large slab of stone is a bit of a mystery, we’re not clear on its purpose at this point. This, along with the remains, the urn and any other finds, will be recorded and then removed from the site for dating. We will do some further research into the local area to determine exactly what we have uncovered and whether there are any references to burials in the area.”

Source: Lincolnshire Echo [June 23, 2016]

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