Skeletal remains uncovered near the site of a Roman villa in Dorset are likely the five skeletons of the owners and occupants of the villa – the first time in Britain that the graves of villa owners have been found in such close proximity to the villa itself.
The five skeletons were two adult males, two adult females and an elderly female – with researchers postulating that they could be the remains of three generations of the same family, who all owned the villa. The bones are thought to date from the mid-4th Century (around 350 AD).
The discovery was made by staff and students from Bournemouth University, who are working on the Durotriges Big Dig project in North Dorset.
The villa itself was excavated last year by students working on the project, and the latest find is the final step in excavating this particular area of rich archaeological significance.
Dr. Miles Russell with one of the skeletons found at Winterborne Kingston. Credit: Bournemouth University
Miles Russell, a Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at Bournemouth University and one of the archaeologists leading the dig, said, “The discovery is of great significance as it is the only time where evidence of a villa and the villa’s occupants have been found in the same location in Britain. This could provide us with significant information, never retrieved before, about the state of health of the villa owners, their ancestry and where they came from.
“One of the big questions in South West is whether the villas in the South West were owned by Britons who have become Roman or owned by people from another part of the Empire who have come to exploit an under-developed rural area. All villas in this region in the South West are late-Roman – and our findings should tell us more about what life was like in this period of history. This is what what can be assessed when the bones are analyzed.”
Dr. Miles Russell on site in Winterborne Kingston.
Credit: Bournemouth University
Paul Cheetham, Senior Lecturer in Archaeological Sciences and co-director of the project, added, “We are looking at the rural elite of late-Roman Britain, living through the economic collapse that took place during this period. These remains will shed light on the final stages of the golden age of Roman Britain.”
Members of the public can also engage with the project when the Big Dig hosts an Open Day on Sunday 13 July 2014 from 10.30am. More information about the Open Day can be found on the Archaeology Festival website.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Increase In Volcanic Eruptions At The End Of The Ice Age Caused By Melting Ice Caps And Erosion
- Teens Are More Caring When They Feel Support From Others
- Obfuscation: How To Hide From Online Surveillance
- Would New Planet X Clear Its Orbit? - And Any Better Name Than "Planet Nine"?
- Top Secret: On Confidentiality On Scientific Issues, Across The Ring And Across The Bedroom
- Front Of Package Food Labels Do Not Mean A Food Is Healthy
- Stop Using BMI To Determine Health
- "for conservatives, the issue is punishing women for having sex. they also do not like uppity scientists..."
- "Liber (Dionysius in Greece) because he is one of the few major Roman gods that does not already..."
- "The URL of the full text article: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1750-3841.13171/fu..."
- "So there is no why like Bob Fletcher or as some people say you can already see it on Russian news..."
- "Hi Joe, yes the thing is - all that is fine, it's logical from your point of view. And whatever..."
- Florida Declares Zika Virus State of Emergency
- Indonesia’s Many Human Physical Deformities: A Closer Look
- Spinal ‘Column’: Love for Hunchback Dog, Breakthrough for 8-Yr-Old Girl
- BMI is Bologna
- Energy Drinks: The Dose Makes the Poison
- California’s Prop 65: Bad For Public Acceptance Of Science, About To Get Worse
- Study compares effectiveness of phone-based and web-based smoking cessation programs in four states
- Treatments that reduce knee buckling may help prevent falls in older adults
- Faces of black children as young as 5 evoke negative biases
- Agricultural policies in Africa could be harming the poorest
- Cambridge researcher develops smartphone app to map Swiss-German dialects