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?
- Nibiru Internet Hoax "Blood Moon" Video - Kudos To Independent For Straight Debunking Article :).
- Your Microbiome Did Not Cause Your Weight Problem
- A Great Blitz Game
- Your Coffee Habits May Be Written In Your DNA
- On Sexuality, You Weren't Born That Way, Says Paper
- How To Become A Charlatan In 9 Easy Steps
- Anomaly!: Book News And A Clip
- "Yes I agree, it's especially sad when very young children get worried about this stuff, when there's..."
- "LocalFluff - just to say I didn't delete your comment on Stuart's post, or hide it - it was automatically..."
- "Yes I agree. I think there is a lot of hope as well, there are many who are working to save the..."
- "Oh that was just a joke. We have a way of telling jokes in the UK that we use sometimes - a very..."
- "Kaylee, oh sorry to hear that. Yes I know what you mean, from others who are in the same situation..."
- Commonly Cited Stat of 10 Bacteria for Every 1 Human Cell Is Wrong
- Why The EpiPen And Other Generic Drugs Are So Expensive
- Latest IARC Report Connects Fatness with More Cancers
- Fact Checking Mylan Claims They Raised The EpiPen Price Because of Improvements
- I’ve Had More Exposure To Agent Orange Than Anyone: Here’s What I Know
- Brussels – a Final Destination for Medical Care