Roman Cemetery Discovered Beneath Parking Lot


Hidden beneath a parking lot in Leicester, England, archaeologists have discovered a 1,700-year-old Roman cemetery that seemed to show no religious bias.

The new discovery, found at the junction of Newarke and Oxford Streets, includes numerous burials and skeletal remains from 13 individuals, both male and female of various ages. The cemetery is estimated to date back to around A.D. 300, according to University of Leicester archaeologists who led the dig.

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"We have literally only just finished the excavation and the finds are currently in the process of being cleaned and catalogued so that they can then be analyzed by the various specialists," John Thomas, archaeological project officer, told LiveScience in an email. [See Images of the Ancient Roman Cemetery]

Paved over

Parking lots seem to be great places to look for bones these days. In February, archaeologists announced that bones excavated from underneath a parking lot in Leicester, "beyond reasonable doubt," belong to the lost and vilified English king Richard III. More recently, the skeletal remains of a medieval knight and possibly his family crypt were unearthed from beneath a parking lot in Scotland.

Previous to the new discovery, scientists had excavated burials on Newarke Street, located to the east and north of the present site where the Roman cemetery was uncovered; these burials seemed to follow Christian traditions, in which the bodies were buried in a supine position, facing east with little or no goods buried alongside them, the researchers said.

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