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Roman burial site with 300 graves discovered on land earmarked for homes near Bristol

A burial ground dating back to Roman times and containing hundreds of graves has been uncovered at a site earmarked for housing.

Roman burial site with 300 graves discovered on land earmarked for homes near Bristol
The Roman burial site discovered at Yatton [Credit: Rebel Sage, Bristol Post]
Professional archaeologists have been at the site on the fringes of the village of Yatton to carry out a detailed excavation.

The site at Arnolds Way is earmarked for development by Bloor Homes, with up to 107 homes planned. It is the housing giant’s second development in the village and also includes plans for a 60-bed extra-care facility.

Around 300 graves are believed to have been discovered at the site and it has been suggested that the finds include a fully intact horse skeleton.

The area is known to have been a significant Roman and pre-Roman settlement. On nearby Cadbury Hill, ancient statues were found during excavations in the last century.

Local residents raised concerns that the find had not been made public and believe the site faces being covered up and lost forever if homes are built on top of it.

Roman burial site with 300 graves discovered on land earmarked for homes near Bristol
A man buried in a Roman cemetery at what is now London’s Holborn Viaduct. His teeth have been ground 
down because of the large amount of gritty food in the Roman diet - it helped prevent tooth decay 
[Credit: Rebel Sage, Bristol Post]
North Somerset Council confirmed investigations were being carried out at the site and said it had not previously been publicised so that archaeologists could continue their work without the area being disturbed by treasure hunters.

News of interesting finds will be shared with residents after the dig is finished and there could be an exhibition.

Council spokeswoman Zoe Briffitt said: “We can confirm that archaeological investigations are being carried out ahead of residential development at the Bloor Homes development at Arnold’s Way.

“Archaeological remains have been discovered at this site, and are in the process of being excavated and analysed to fully understand the complexity of the archaeology. These investigations are being undertaken in accordance with instructions from North Somerset Council’s archaeologist.”

It is understood that archaeological investigations were also carried out ahead of Bloor Homes building its first development in the village.

Roman burial site with 300 graves discovered on land earmarked for homes near Bristol
The skeleton of a young woman found at a site in London. Analysis of bones and teeth can tell researchers 
much about the people whose remains they find [Credit: Rebel Sage, Bristol Post]
Mrs Briffitt said: “The investigations are being carried out under a planning condition on the approved outline application for phase two. Archaeological investigations were also undertaken on phase one and our archaeologist has been involved throughout the process, to ensure the archaeological remains are examined and recorded on phase two.

“A geophysical survey was carried out to identify the areas for further investigation.

“Sites such as this are not usually publicised while archaeological investigations are under way, to ensure sufficient recording is carried out and the archaeology is not disturbed by anyone who is not a competently trained archaeologist.

“There are discussions with the developer’s agents and archaeological consultants about access to the public, and unfortunately this is not possible at the moment due to a number of constraints.

“However, there will be an arrangement in place to share the findings with the local community and potentially showcase some of the finds in the local area once the investigations are complete.”

Author: Heather Pickstock | Source: Bristol Post [January 10, 2018]


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