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Construction workers building a school in Somerset unearth 50 early Roman skeletons

Construction workers building a school in Somerset have unearthed some of the earliest Roman burials ever found in Britain.

A total of around 50 burial sites were discovered at the Somerton site, Somerset and are thought to date back as far as 43AD, to the very dawn of the Roman period.

Each grave contains a single bid, with both adults and children buried at the site.

The new school will replace King Ina Junior and Infants and the archaeological haul has been described as ‘significant’ by archaeologists.

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A total of 50 burial sites were discovered at the Somerton site, Somerset and are thought to date back as far as 43AD in the early Roman period (pictured)

A total of 50 burial sites were discovered at the Somerton site, Somerset and are thought to date back as far as 43AD in the early Roman period (pictured)

An exact date of the skeletons is unknown as they studies are still ongoing but early estimates the remains as potentially as old as 43AD - the date of the Roman invasion of Britain

An exact date of the skeletons is unknown as they studies are still ongoing but early estimates the remains as potentially as old as 43AD - the date of the Roman invasion of Britain

An exact date of the skeletons is unknown as they studies are still ongoing but early estimates the remains as potentially as old as 43AD – the date of the Roman invasion of Britain

The burials included both adults and children with a smattering or valuables in the graves, including pottery and brooches.

The form of the burials was unusual and shed lights on the transition between Iron Age and Roman society.

An exact date of the skeletons is unknown as they studies are still ongoing but early estimates the remains as potentially as old as 43AD – the date of the Roman invasion of Britain.

The South West Heritage Trust has the excavations and archaeologist Steve Membery said: ‘This site is a significant discovery – the most comprehensive modern excavation of a Roman cemetery in Somerset.

‘The application of technology including aerial drones and techniques such as isotope and ancient DNA analysis offers major opportunities for insights into the lives of the Roman population of Somerton.

‘The individuals were evidently or some status in native society.

“The burials also show early adoption of Roman burial practices such as offerings alongside traditionally Iron Age characteristics.”

The graves were dug into the bedrock and lined with stone curbs to create a coffin-like structure and sealed with flat slabs.

The burials included both adults and children with a smattering or valuables in the graves, including pottery and brooches

The burials included both adults and children with a smattering or valuables in the graves, including pottery and brooches

The burials included both adults and children with a smattering or valuables in the graves, including pottery and brooches

The excavations also unveiled other Roman relics besides the bodies, including traces of Iron Age round houses, field systems and a Roman building (pictured)

The excavations also unveiled other Roman relics besides the bodies, including traces of Iron Age round houses, field systems and a Roman building (pictured)

The excavations also unveiled other Roman relics besides the bodies, including traces of Iron Age round houses, field systems and a Roman building (pictured)

Somerset County Counselor Faye Purbrick, Cabinet Member for Education and Transformation, said: “The findings are both exciting and extraordinary providing us with valuable insight into Somerset’s early history”

The excavations also unveiled other Roman relics include the bodies, including traces of Iron Age round houses, field systems and a Roman building.

Work on the new 420-pupil school had to be delayed while experts from Wessex Archeology dug the site – and unearthed the discoveries.

Work on the school is set to resume following a short archaeological hiatus this month.

Somerset County Counselor Faye Purbrick, Cabinet Member for Education and Transformation, said: “The findings are both exciting and extraordinary providing us with valuable insight into Somerset’s early history.

‘We want to be able to understand so much more about the lives of Roman people in Somerton thanks to these discoveries.

The site archeology has been carefully gathered for further scientific analysis and full findings on both the skeletons and the artifacts in the graves will be published in due course, the archaeologists say

The site archeology has been carefully gathered for further scientific analysis and full findings on both the skeletons and the artifacts in the graves will be published in due course, the archaeologists say

The site archeology has been carefully gathered for further scientific analysis and full findings on both the skeletons and the artifacts in the graves will be published in due course, the archaeologists say

Work on the new 420-pupil school had to be delayed while experts from Wessex Archeology dug the site - and unearthed the discoveries

Work on the new 420-pupil school had to be delayed while experts from Wessex Archeology dug the site - and unearthed the discoveries

Work on the new 420-pupil school had to be delayed while experts from Wessex Archeology dug the site – and unearthed the discoveries

‘Our team have a great track record of delivering fantastic new schools and while we’d always prefer any delay to be avoided. .

“The children have already had an opportunity to visit the site hopefully inspiring some future archaeologists and I’m sure they will be excited to continue to learn more about this very special site.”

The site archeology has been carefully gathered for further scientific analysis.

A full report of the findings will be published in due course, according to the people who dug up the site.

The graves were dug into the bedrock and lined with stone curbs to create a coffin-like structure and sealed with flat slabs and many contained other items, including pottery (pictured)

The graves were dug into the bedrock and lined with stone curbs to create a coffin-like structure and sealed with flat slabs and many contained other items, including pottery (pictured)

The graves were dug into the bedrock and lined with stone curbs to create a coffin-like structure and sealed with flat slabs and many contained other items, including pottery (pictured)

WHEN DID THE ROMANS OCCUPY BRITAIN?

55BC – Julius Caesar crossed the channel with around 10,000 soldiers. They landed at a Pegwell Bay on the Isle of Thanet and were with a force of Britons. Caesar was forced to withdraw.

54BC – Caesar crossed the channel again in his second attempt to conquer Britain. He came with 27,000 infantry and cavalry and landed at Deal but were unopposed. They marched inland and after hard battles they defeated the Britons and surrendered key tribal leaders.

However, later that year, Caesar was forced to return to Gaul with problems there and the Romans left.

54BC – 43BC – Although there were no novels present in Britain during these years, their influence increased due to trade links.

43AD – A Roman force of 40,000 led by Aulus Plautius landed in Kent and took the south east. The emperor Claudius arrived in Colchester with reinforcements. Claudius appointed Plautius as Governor of Britain and returned to Rome.

In 43AD, a Roman force (artist's impression) or 40,000 led by Aulus Plautius landed in Kent and took the south east. The emperor Claudius then arrived in Colchester with reinforcements

In 43AD, a Roman force (artist's impression) or 40,000 led by Aulus Plautius landed in Kent and took the south east. The emperor Claudius then arrived in Colchester with reinforcements

In 43AD, a Roman force (artist’s impression) or 40,000 led by Aulus Plautius landed in Kent and took the south east. The emperor Claudius then arrived in Colchester with reinforcements

47AD – Londinium (London) was founded and Britain was declared part of the Roman empire. Networks of roads were built across the country.

50AD – Romans arrived in the southwest and made their mark in the form of a wooden fort on a hill near the river Exe. A town was created at the site of the fort decades later and names Isca.

When Romans let and Saxons ruled, all ex-Roman towns were called a ‘ceaster’. this was called ‘Exe ceaster’ and a merger of this eventually cool rise to Exeter.

75 – 77AD – Novels defeated the last resistant tribes, making all Britain Roman. Many Britons started adopting Roman customs and law.

122AD – Emperor Hadrian ordered a wall built between England and Scotland to keep Scottish tribes out.

312AD – Emperor Constantine made Christianity legal throughout the Roman empire.

228AD – The Romans were being attacked by barbarian tribes and soldiers stationed in the country started to be recalled to Rome.

410AD – All Romans were recalled to Rome and Emperor Honorious Britons told they no longer had a connection to Rome.

Source: History on the net

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