'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.


'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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