In April of 2008, one of the most unique finds in British history was revealed , a mass Roman grave that contained the remains of 91 men, women and children. It is believed that these poor souls were dumped in a hurry during a time where disease ran rampant during the 2nd or 3rd century.In this article, you will learn more, as well as details concerning a shipwreck full of treasure.
Mass Roman Grave Found in Gloucester
The significance of such a find centers on the fact that the discovery has become the first officially recognized Roman mass grave attached to Britain. First found in 2004, the site has been kept under wraps for about four years, as archeologists have been secretly exploring the site and investigating the origin of the bones. One of the telling signs of the remains came from their arrangement. The Head of Burial Archaeology at Oxford Archaeology (Louise Loe) noted that the “skeletons were lying with their bones completely entangled, reflecting the fact that they had been dumped in a hurried manner.”
Upon studying the skeletons, evidence pointed to the reason why they had been buried in such a way , they had been victims of an epidemic. Today, the burial site is now occupied by Cathedral Court, which offers retirement living just across the way from the Church of St Mary Magdalene, a former hospital for lepers during the 12th century. The bodies found at the site are thought to belong to former residents that succumbed to the Antonine Plague (possibly small pox), which affected the masses throughout Europe during the 2nd century.
Additional finds associated with the Gloucester site include two 1st century sculptured and inscribed tombstones, including that of a 14-year-old slave. The other was for Lucius Octavius Martialis, a soldier of the 20th Legion. In the past, two other mass Roman burial sites were uncovered in Britain. During the 1870s, York was the site of such finds, but sadly , improper recording led to unofficial recognition.
Shipwreck in Africa is Full of Treasure
The national diamond mining company in Namibia reported in April of 2008 that a shipwrecked vessel has been found , filled with exciting treasures. Discovered in what is known as the ‘forbidden zone’ off of the coast of Namibia, the shipwreck is believed to have thrived more than 500 years ago. At the site of discovery, the sea wall is pushed back so that diamonds can be uncovered.
During recent excavations of this year, copper ingots and several bronze cannons emerged. The remains of a wooden sailing ship also appeared, which caused mining operations to stand still so that archeologists could be called in. Inside, a cargo full of treasure awaited archeologists. Thousands of Spanish and Portuguese coins were found, as well as more than 50 tusks of ivory. Experts are dating the ship to the early 16th century, a time where the first European explorers started mapping the coast of southwest Africa.