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article imageArchaeologists unearth 150 Roman graves in Canterbury

By Kev Hedges     Mar 25, 2011 in Environment
Canterbury - An ancient burial ground has been uncovered by archaeologists in the southern England county of Kent. The Roman cemetery dates back to around 290AD.
It was during the late era of the Roman Empire when around 150 men, women and children were buried along St Dunstan's Street, a Roman suburb of Canterbury. The site had been home to Halletts garage for several years before it was pulled down and the local authority prepared the land for housing. That was until a skeleton was discovered by workmen.
Now archaeologists have been given a number of days to excavate and dig the ancient site before developers move back in. On the rear boundary of the site, which includes what is now a car park on Station Road West, a deep ditch has been unearthed. A synagogue was built here in 1762 and was demolished during the 18th century to make way for Canterbury West Railway Station.
Each skeleton will be carefully removed and lifted and experts will then determine sex, height, possible reason for death. They have already determined that they were all Christians as they all all facing from east to west.
Kent Online reports that the excavation is being carried by Canterbury Archaeological Trust. Its director Paul Bennett said: "We have found some very nice Anglo-Saxon loom weights and the remains of major buildings along the St Dunstan's frontage," he said. "The site was developed from the Anglo-Saxon period onwards and there were some very deep properties here, some going back 90ft, some had deep back gardens and we have found cess pits and wells".
Archaeologist Damien Boden told the BBC the challenge of working on such a dig was figuring out how each find would fit the overall picture. He said, "It is making sure you have got it right, at the end of the site, when you pack up, you know that you have dug it properly and you have got all the information you can and you couldn't do any more."
The archaeologists will move to the other side of the railway line in St Dunstan's and begin excavating the former Watling Tyres depot after the developers move in the Halletts garage site on Monday.
More about Roman burials, Archaeology, Canterbury, Romans
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