Remains of Roman burial caskets found in Bourton
11:26am Thursday 19th February 2009
The richness of Bourton-on-the-Water’s contribution to archaeology was greatly enhanced by the discovery 75 years ago of what appeared to be the site of a Roman house which, in the faraway days of the of the Roman occupation of Britain, belonged to a family of considerable substance, The Journal reported: “Men were digging out a drainage course for a new bungalow being built at Lansdowne by Mr R G Lawrence, when they came across the remains of a Roman paved floor.
“Their curiosity aroused, they summoned their employer and shortly afterwards unearthed two large lead caskets, each weighing three and a half hundredweight.
“These were exquisitely marked with rope design and are stated to be Roman funerary caskets that were thrown out as not good enough for their original purpose.
“It was the custom of Romans in the old days to cremate their dead and to put the small casket containing the ashes into a larger casket.
“The caskets found at Bourton would be the larger type and the belief that they were thrown away as unsuitable is suggested by the fact that they were empty.
“They have been given by Mr Lawrence to the Cheltenham Museum.
“Mr Lawrence called in Miss H E Donovan, honorary secretary of the Bourton excavations committee, the body responsible for the work on the Salmonsbury Camp site.
“Miss Donovan and helpers were greatly interested in the new finds and in quick time added to them by their discovery of part of a Roman house wall, nine Roman coins dating from the third and fourth centuries of the Roman occupation and examples of Samnium pottery.
“It was the finding of the latter which indicated that the occupants of the house were probably of some wealth and standing.”