Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Skeleton Found At Roman Site In Britain Mystifies Archaeologists

Date:
September 16, 2009
Source:
University of Nottingham
Summary:
A skeleton, found at one of the most important, but least understood, Roman sites in Britain is puzzling experts.

A skeleton, found at one of the most important, but least understood, Roman sites in Britain is puzzling experts from The University of Nottingham.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Nottingham

A skeleton, found at one of the most important, but least understood, Roman sites in Britain is puzzling experts from The University of Nottingham.

Related Articles


Dr Will Bowden from the Department of Archaeology, who is leading excavations at the buried town of Venta Icenorum at Caistor St Edmund in Norfolk, said the burial was highly unusual: “This is an abnormal burial. The body, which is probably male, was placed in a shallow pit on its side, as opposed to being laid out properly. This is not the care Romans normally accorded to their dead. It could be that the person was murdered or executed although this is still a matter of speculation.”

The skeleton has been removed for further investigation. Dr Bowden said: “It is an exciting find and once we have cleaned the bones they will undergo a full examination and a range of scientific tests to try and find out how this individual died.”

The Caistor excavations, sponsored by the Foyle Foundation, May Gurney, the Roman Research Trust and South Norfolk Council, have also found evidence of Iron Age as well as early prehistoric occupation some 10,000 years BC. Dr Bowden said: “These excavations have added an enormous amount to what we knew before. There are flints so sharp you could still shave with them – they are so fresh they have barely moved in all that time.”

Excavations were first carried out at Caistor St Edmund in 1929 after aerial photographs picked out the site in the parched fields following an exceptionally dry summer.

Dr Bowden’s work began two years ago. Using the latest technology the team revealed the plan of the buried town at an extraordinary level of detail never been seen before.

The high-resolution geophysical survey used a Caesium Vapour magnetometer to map buried remains across the entire walled area of the Roman town. Dr Bowden worked with Dr David Bescoby and Dr Neil Chroston of the University of East Anglia on the new survey, sponsored by the British Academy. Around 30 local volunteer members of the Caistor Roman Town Project also assisted.

The survey produced the clearest plan of the town yet - confirming the street plan (shown by previous aerial photographs), the town’s water supply system (detecting the iron collars connecting wooden water pipes), and the series of public buildings including the baths, temples and forum, known from earlier excavations.

Caistor lies in the territory of the Iceni, the tribe of Boudica who famously rebelled against Roman rule in AD 60/61. The survey revealed numerous circular features that apparently predate the Roman town.

These are probably of prehistoric date, and suggest that Caistor was the site of a large settlement before the Roman town was built. This had always been suspected because of numerous chance finds of late Iron Age coins and metalwork, but until the survey was carried out there had never been any evidence of buildings.

This summer archaeologists returned to start excavating the site. Dr Bowden said: “To have the opportunity to excavate here is the chance of a lifetime.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Nottingham. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Nottingham. "Skeleton Found At Roman Site In Britain Mystifies Archaeologists." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090915140924.htm>.
University of Nottingham. (2009, September 16). Skeleton Found At Roman Site In Britain Mystifies Archaeologists. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090915140924.htm
University of Nottingham. "Skeleton Found At Roman Site In Britain Mystifies Archaeologists." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090915140924.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Fossils & Ruins News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Bring Player Pianos Back to Life

Researchers Bring Player Pianos Back to Life

AP (Dec. 17, 2014) Stanford University wants to unlock the secrets of the player piano. Researchers are restoring and studying self-playing pianos and the music rolls that recorded major composers performing their own work. (Dec. 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Domestication Might've Been Bad For Horses

Domestication Might've Been Bad For Horses

Newsy (Dec. 16, 2014) A group of scientists looked at the genetics behind the domestication of the horse and showed how human manipulation changed horses' DNA. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert and Bizet Manuscripts to Go on Sale

Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert and Bizet Manuscripts to Go on Sale

AFP (Dec. 16, 2014) A collection of rare manuscripts by composers Mozart, Beethoven, Shubert and Bizet are due to go on sale at auction on December 17. Duration: 00:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Old Ship Records to Shed Light on Arctic Ice Loss

Old Ship Records to Shed Light on Arctic Ice Loss

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 15, 2014) Researchers are looking to the past to gain a clearer picture of what the future holds for ice in the Arctic. A project to analyse and digitize ship logs dating back to the 1850's aims to lengthen the timeline of recorded ice data. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins