Ancient mass grave found on UK Olympics site

Fri Jun 12, 2009 8:59am EDT
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By Stefano Ambrogi

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - An ancient burial pit containing 45 severed skulls, that could be a mass war grave dating back to Roman times, has been found under a road being built for the 2012 British Olympics.

Archaeologists, who have only just begun excavating the site, say they do not yet know who the bones might belong to.

"We think that these dismembered bodies are likely to be native Iron Age Britons. The question is -- how did they die and who killed them," said dig head, David Score, of Oxford Archaeology.

"Were they fighting amongst themselves? Were they executed by the Romans? Did they die in a battle with the Romans?

"The exciting scenario for us possibly is that there were skirmishes with the invading Romans and that's how they ended up chopped up in a pit," he told Reuters.

When the main Roman invasion force landed in Britain in AD 43, Claudius' legions moved swiftly through western England to subdue fierce Celtic tribes.

The skulls and other bones were unearthed at a place called Ridgeway Hill, on the construction site of a new major relief road to Weymouth, on the Dorset coast in southwest England.

The seaside town -- in the heart of Thomas Hardy country -- is to host sailing events for the London Olympics.   Continued...