Decapitated Skeletons Uncovered at Roman and Iron Age Site in Wintringham, Cambridgeshire

  • February 28, 2023

Archaeologists from Oxford Archaeology have uncovered a fascinating discovery at a Roman burial site in Wintringham, Cambridgeshire. The site, which dates back 2,500 years, also contained evidence of Iron Age settlements and will be featured in the latest series of BBC Two’s Digging for Britain.

The team uncovered an Iron Age settlement composed of 40 roundhouses, as well as a network of trackways and enclosures related to farming activities. A Roman kiln and a large number of quern and millstones, used to grind grains, were also found.

The archaeologists also discovered a range of Roman artefacts, including coins, brooches, a large lead lid or platter, and numerous pottery vessels. But the most interesting discovery was that of decapitated skeletons, with 11 out of the 17 burials having their heads positioned by their feet.

In one case, a pottery vessel was found in place of the head.

Experts believe that the skeletons date back to the third century AD, and that the individuals were interred carefully, often buried with pottery. In one case, a pottery vessel was found in place of the head. The team will now start analysing the skeletons with the hope of providing more details about the burial rites that were in use in the area.

The head of the Oxford Archaeology team, Patrick Moan, stated that these findings provide valuable insights into the history of the local area. He also mentioned that they will share this newfound knowledge with the people who live in the region.

The site was found before a construction project to build roughly 2,800 homes began in the town. This is not the only time in England where a group burial of decapitated people has been unearthed.

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In June 2021, English archaeologists uncovered 18 skeletons from the Roman period that were decapitated. Many of these individuals were buried with their skulls at their feet.

Researchers on the excavation site speculated that this was a common form of punishment in ancient Roman times. They also suggested that it became more frequent as the Roman Empire’s influence in England decreased.

Additionally, the Romans used decapitation in other situations, such as killing enslaved individuals, performing human sacrifices, participating in fertility rituals, and taking trophies. The findings are significant as they provide an insight into the lives of the people in the area during this time, and the burial practices that were used.

The discovery of the Iron Age settlement and the Roman artefacts is also a valuable contribution to our understanding of the history of the area.

In conclusion, the discovery of the decapitated skeletons and other artefacts at the Roman burial site in Wintringham, Cambridgeshire, is a valuable contribution to our understanding of the history of the area.

The artifacts provide insights into the lives of the people who lived in the area during the Iron Age and Roman periods. The analysis of the skeletons will help us understand the burial practices that were in use at the time.

Overall, this is an exciting discovery that provides valuable information about the history of the local landscape.

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