(ORDO NEWS) — Archaeologists in the UK have discovered a Roman-era mercenary buried along with his sword and a mysterious headless skeleton.
The Council of the Vale of Glamorgan in Wales hired Rubicon Heritage Services to evaluate a road they wanted to straighten.
This led to the discovery of an extensive hoard of archaeological artifacts and hundreds of thousands of years old graves.
A collection of Roman artifacts and several skeletons were unearthed along one section of the five-mile road, Mark Collard, managing director of Rubicon Heritage, which is leading the project, told Insider.
One of them, believed to be a mercenary, buried with a large sword and a military brooch, dates from the period when “the Roman Empire collapsed in Britain,” Collard said.
Nearby was another skeleton of a decapitated man, buried with his head at his feet.
In 2019, at a Roman cemetery in Suffolk, England, archaeologists found the same cadaver configuration in 17 decapitated skeletons whose heads are believed to have been removed after death.
It remains a mystery what this practice symbolized. One theory suggests a connection with the pagan belief system of the pre-Roman Celtic tribes, who considered the head to be the seat of the soul, archaeologists told Live Science.
Both men in Wales were buried on a large mound with a “fantastic view of the countryside”. You have to think there must be some reason for this,” Collard told Insider.
Ancient burial place
Collard said that on another excavated section of the road, a burial of a later period was found, which also raises many questions.
In the center of the field is a once-hidden medieval burial site discovered by Collard and his team that holds 450 bodies.
People returned to this burial place for about 500 years – from the sixth to the thirteenth century – to bury their loved ones there.
“It’s unusual that they’re actually buried in the middle of a field. It’s not next to a church. And that’s one of the things we’re wondering why people have been burying people on top of this mound for so long,” Collard said.
The team conducts a detailed analysis of the remains, looking for family ties to the bodies, evidence of disease or injury, and indications of dietary habits.
The excavation team has released an e-book detailing the project called “The Five Mile Strip”, which describes items found so far, including Bronze Age cremations, an arrowhead and a 3,000-year-old round house.
Archaeologists always say, “We didn’t expect to find so much,” and in this case, we really didn’t, because previous explorations didn’t inspire much hope. But it turned out to be an incredibly densely populated prehistoric, Roman and later landscape with a lot of activity since 4000 BC. before World War II,” Collard said
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