Archaeological news about the Archaeology of Early Medieval Europe from the Archaeology in Europe web site

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Burials from Rockbourne Roman villa re-examined

Lower jaw deformities from birth, a missing right hand and foot bones, trepanning to exorcise “bad spirits” and a lonely burial were the lot of a middle-aged Saxon or early medieval man found face down in a shallow grave, say archaeologists investigating skeletons found at a Hampshire Roman villa during the 1960s. 

A reconstruction of the skull of a man found weighed down  in a lonely grave at Hampshire's largest Roman villa  [Credit: © Hampshire Cultural Trust] 

The latter of two male discoveries at Rockbourne, near the town of Fordingbridge on the River Avon, was originally found in 1965. 

Analysts believe the community would have buried him in a lonely place and weighed him down with stones after viewing a deformity on the left hand side of his jaw as a sign of his troubles and a potentially evil influence.

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