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Roman burial ground discovered near Cambridge

A Roman settlement and burial ground has been unearthed at the site of a new Cambridgeshire housing estate.

Roman burial ground discovered near Cambridge
Kier Living Eastern, Fenstanton, turf cutting at Kier site. Pictured, project officer, David Ingham 
with archaeologist Matthew Billings [Credit: Cambridge News]
The dig took place off Cambridge Road at the site of a Kier Living Eastern housing development, called The Park, in Fenstanton.

Archaeologists uncovered two cemeteries and a few isolated burials containing more than 20 individuals.

More than 100kg of pottery and animal bones were also found, as well as bracelets, hair pins, over 200 coins, and 11kg of oyster shells that are likely to have been imported down the river from The Wash.

Roman burial ground discovered near Cambridge
Pottery from the site [Credit: Cambridge News]
Kathy Pilkinton, who led the excavations which started in May, said: “We were expecting to find lots of Roman remains, but the results have proved even more interesting.”

As well as the usual ditches and pits, the dig also revealed wells, the footings of a substantial Roman building, and a smaller Anglo-Saxon building.

One part of the site is so well preserved that Cambridgeshire County Council’s Historic Environment Team, agreed to leave it preserved within the open space of the development while the rest of the site was excavated before construction started.

Roman burial ground discovered near Cambridge
A Roman brooch found at the site [Credit: Cambridge News]
Kier Living Eastern will now fund the analysis of the finds and a final report will be available at Cambridgeshire’s Historic Environment Record.

Housing developers funded the work employing Archaeologists from Albion Archaeology, which is part of Central Bedfordshire Council.

The developer has also funded outreach work by Albion Archaeology to ensure youngsters at Fenstanton and Hilton Primary School were among the first to hear what had been discovered in their village.

Roman burial ground discovered near Cambridge
Roman toiletry implement [Credit: Cambridge News]
David Thomas, sales and marketing director for Kier Living Eastern, said: “We were delighted to work with Albion Archaeology at The Park which is an exciting development, not least because of the history of the site and the village itself."

More than 140 local residents also attended presentations at which the finds were revealed.

School children were given the unique opportunity to handle 2,000-year-old artefacts found at the site which is next to a major Roman road between Cambridge and Godmanchester, where exploratory work last year had suggested the presence of a wealthy roadside settlement.

Roman burial ground discovered near Cambridge
Fenstanton Primary school pupils archaeology talk on finds found at Kier site
[Credit: Cambridge News]
Claire Worth, headteacher at the school, said: “The children and staff were transfixed by the presentations and have been so enthused that lots of them have embarked on their own research. A fantastic day was had by all.”

Author: Anna Savva | Source: Cambridge News [December 24, 2017]


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