- A council has hired a team of archaeologists in Wales to assess a road before it is repaired.
- They ended up finding a treasure trove of artifacts and graves dating back thousands of years.
- They found the remains of a Roman mercenary and a mysterious decapitated skeleton.
Archaeologists in the UK have discovered a Roman-era mercenary buried with his sword and a mysterious decapitated skeleton.
Vale of Glamorgan Council in Wales engaged rubicon Heritage Services to assess a road they wanted to straighten.
This led to the discovery of a vast treasure trove of archaeological artifacts and hundreds of tombs dating back thousands of years.
In a five-mile section of the road was a collection of Roman artifacts and several skeletons, Mark Collard, managing director of Rubicon Heritage who leads the project, told Insider.
One is believed to be a mercenary, buried with a large sword and a military brooch, from the period when “the Roman Empire collapsed in Britain”, Collard said.
Nearby was another skeleton of a decapitated man, buried head to toe.
In 2019, at a Roman cemetery in Suffolk, England, archaeologists found the same corpse configuration in 17 decapitated skeletons whose heads were reportedly removed after death.
The discovery left “archaeologists scratching their heads,” Live Science reported.
It remains a mystery what the practice symbolized. One theory suggests a link to a pagan belief system of pre-Roman Celtic tribes who considered the head to be the container of the soul, archaeologists have told Live Science.
The two men in Wales were buried on a large hill with “fantastic views over the countryside. You have to think there must be a reason for that,” Collard told Insider.
An ancient burial place
Collard said another excavated section of the road revealed a burial site from a later period which also raised many questions.
In the middle of a field is a once hidden medieval cemetery, discovered by Collard and his team, which contains 450 bodies.
People returned to the cemetery for about 500 years – from the 6th to 13th centuries – to bury their loved ones there. “It’s unusual that they’re effectively buried in the middle of a field. It’s not near a church. And that’s one of the things we wonder why people would go back so long to bury people. people on top of that mound,” Collard said.
The team undertakes a detailed analysis of the remains, checking for family ties to the bodies, signs of disease or injury, or clues to diets.
The team behind the excavations have published an e-book detailing the project called “Five Mile Lane”, which describes what has been found so far, including Bronze Age cremations, an arrowhead and a 3000 year old rotunda.
The detailed results will be published at the end of 2022.
“Archaeologists always say, we didn’t expect to find so much, and in this case, we really didn’t, because previous investigations didn’t raise a lot of hopes. , and later, a landscape with a lot of activity from 4000 BC to World War II,” Collard said.