Archaeologists hope the remains of an ancient Roman elite recently discovered in northern England will shed light on the region’s transition from Roman rule to Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, which occurred some 1,600 years ago.
Described as a “once-in-a-lifetime discovery”, the cemetery contains remains of both late Roman people, such as the prominent coffin in which a noble lady was buried, as well as remains of early Saxon people.
David Hunter, head archaeologist at West Yorkshire Joint Services, said in a statement: “The presence of two communities using the same burial site is highly unusual and whether there is overlapping use of this cemetery will determine how significant the find is.” ” monday. “When viewed together they indicate the complexity and uncertainty of burial life during a dynamic period in Yorkshire’s history.”
The cemetery was first discovered last spring near Garforth, a town in Leeds. Its existence was kept secret for the past year so that archaeologists could safely excavate the area and conduct the necessary tests.
The remains of 60 men, women and children are located in the cemetery, with evidence of the burial customs of both Roman and Anglo-Saxon peoples.
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According to the UK-based Historical Association, the 5th century AD saw the arrival of Germanic tribes, including the Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Frisians, as the Roman Empire pulled back from Britain.
“There is always a chance of a burial, but to discover a cemetery of such importance at such a time of transition was quite incredible,” the site supervisor for the dig said on Monday.
Officials still have not released the exact location of the cemetery, but noted that it was discovered after Roman stone buildings and some early Anglo-Saxon structures were found near them.
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Now a team of experts will carbon date the remains to identify the exact time frame when the cemetery was actively used. Other tests may be able to reveal the ancestry of those buried, their diets and other illuminating details.
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