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Roman-Era Burials Unearthed in Wales

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

VALE OF GLAMORGAN, WALES—Live Science reports that two Roman-era burials have been uncovered at a site in southeastern Wales by a team of researchers led by archaeologist Mark Collard. One of the burials was found near a Roman villa in a field with a view of the valley and the sea. The man was buried face down in a coffin that had been closed with iron nails. This burial also contained hobnail boots, and a long iron sword and a silver crossbow brooch in styles worn in continental Europe in the late fourth or early fifth century A.D. The condition of the man’s remains suggest he died in his early 20s from a possible ear infection that spread to his skull. Collard suggests this man may have been hired as a mercenary, or may have been an invader who took over the Roman villa. Genetic analysis of the remains may provide additional insight into his identity, Collard explained. The second burial held the remains of another man who had died in his 20s. This man’s head was placed at his feet, suggesting that he had been decapitated and perhaps executed. Traces of wood and iron nails indicate that he was buried in a coffin or on a board with a shroud placed over it. Collard said the practice of decapitation may have also been used to separate the soul from the body, or to prevent the body from rising again. To read about a study of the remains of decapitated men who were buried in a Roman cemetery in York, England, go to "Off with Their Heads."

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