Roman graveyard in Gloucestershire open to the public tomorrow

HEAD FOR ROMAN GRAVEYARD

09:00 – 14 March 2008

The Roman burial ground found in Gloucestershire is set to be revealed. More than 100 bodies, many with their heads placed at their feet, were found at the Hanson gravel quarry at Horcott, near Fairford, in May 2006.

The three-hectare site will be open to the public for the first time tomorrow.

As well as the cemetery, archaeologists have discovered numerous buildings and a Roman farmstead nearby.

Ken Welsh, from Oxford Archaeology, has been overseeing the investigation.

He said: “The significance of the site lies in its scale and complexity and in the discovery of a Romano-British stone building of a kind not previously excavated.

“While it is not a villa, its occupants had pretensions to grandeur.”

A child's grave was lined with a sleeve of lead, a valuable substance at the time.

“In addition to the Roman graveyard and farmstead, our work has revealed a multi-phase settlement area, with evidence of occupation from the Early Iron Age, the Romano-British and the Early to Middle Saxon periods.

“The Saxon settlement, with as many as 40 sunken-featured buildings, overlies the Early Iron Age settlement and disentangling the post-holes, about 3,500, has been a huge challenge made easier by our computer graphics and recording system.”

Experts say the site is one of the biggest and rarest to come out of the region.

The cemetery dates back to the 4the century AD. Workers from building suppliers Hanson found the site.

The open day runs from noon to 4.30pm. Admission to the site, off Totterdown Lane, is free and all are welcome.

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