Roman cemetery found in North Somerset

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Archaeological finds described as ‘the most important’ to be discovered in North Somerset for 100 years have been unearthed in Banwell.

Roman cemetery found in North Somerset
A skeleton from the Roman cemetery [Credit: Mercury 24]

Bristol Water has been laying a seven-kilometre, £3.6million main between Banwell and Hutton, and archaeologists employed to investigate remains along the work route discovered a horde of Roman artefacts in the village.

Bristol Water’s Jeremy Williams said of the discovery: “We are told that the finds rewrite the known interpretation of Roman Banwell and are of regional significance.”

Roman cemetery found in North Somerset
A coin, from the era of Constantine the Great, found at the site [Credit: Mercury 24]

Among the discoveries was what appears to be a Roman cemetery containing several human burials, 9,000 pieces of pottery, several copper brooches and a coin from the reign of Roman emperor Constantine the Great.

As well as the cemetery, which seems to show a shift in Roman practice from cremating the dead to burying them, there is also evidence of earlier, possibly Iron Age agricultural activity around the site.

It is thought the cemetery was linked to the villa of a wealthy landowner, as opposed to a larger settlement.

Roman cemetery found in North Somerset
A spoon found at the site [Credit: Mercury 24]

Mr Williams said: “The archaeologists are very excited about their finds, which they have made despite bad weather turning the area into a sea of mud at times

“The excavation has been described as potentially the most important for 100 years in North Somerset.”

Many of the finds will be on show at an event hosted by the Banwell Society of Archaeology at the village hall in Westfield Road at 7.30pm on November 19.

Author: James Franklin | Source: Mercury 24 [October 23, 2012]

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