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'Roman burial ground' unearthed in Alderney

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ARCHAEOLOGISTS have found what is believed to be a Roman burial ground in Alderney.

As previously reported, earlier this month workers digging a trench for electricity cables off Longis Common discovered a skull and other small fragments of bone. They also found a cist – a small coffin-like box.

Four sets of remains have now been unearthed, as well as a section of wall, leading experts to believe that the site is a formal burial ground.

Dr Jason Monaghan, director of Guernsey Museums, described the finds as 'very exciting'.

'One feature turned out to be a cremation capped by a huge boulder. This consisted of charred bones interred in a black urn.

'I removed the cremation and its contents as completely as possible. It was brought in several bags back to Guernsey,' he said.

Dr Monaghan also hand-excavated the contents of a second cist.

'We hand-excavated the rest of the skull and some vertebrae, but left the ribs in section under the road.

'The body is facing north-east, supine, with head raised so the chin rests on the chest. The skull was brought back to Guernsey still partly encased in sand,' he said.

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'The face appears intact and we also recovered the lower jaw. It appears, at first inspection, to be female.

'Late in the day a hip came out of the bottom of the trench just east of the cist and we partly exposed a small supine burial – body three.

'It is at right angles to the cist burial, facing north-west. At this point we decided that the amount of archaeology emerging was beyond our immediate resources,' he added.

All of the bodies and burial sites were found within a 15-metre stretch of the trench.

'This find expands our knowledge of Roman Alderney and underlines how much archaeological potential there is on Longis Common.'

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