Roman graves uncovered in Canterbury
by Sian Napier
Archaeologists have uncovered an ancient burial ground
in Kent where around a hundred people were laid to rest.
The site - dating back to the late Roman era -
is on the former Hallets garage site in Canterbury's St
Experts have found hardly any grave goods and since
most of the bodies are lying east/west they are believed to be
The excavation is being carried by Canterbury Archaeological
Director Paul Bennett said it was proving to be an exceptionally
busy site, with later Anglo-Saxon rubbish pits and buildings.
"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
"Some had deep back gardens and we have found cess pits and
The back boundary of the site, which runs along part of the car
park in Station Road West, once had a deep ditch and then a late
18th century synagogue which was demolished when Canterbury West
station was built.
Mr Bennett said the late Roman cemetery contained a mixture of
adult and children burials.
The skeletons are being carefully lifted and will be analysed to
determine sex, age, illnesses and possible causes of death.
"It is not surprising that we have found a cemetery here as it
is just outside the outskirts of the Roman town," Mr Bennett
"There are lots of modern foundations here but lots of the old
buildings have also survived. It is a very complex site, with
foundations cutting pits which are cutting graves."
The archaeologists are due to move off site this weekend when it
will be developed for housing.
They will immediately move to the other side of the railway line
in St Dunstan's and start excavating the former Watling Tyres depot
before it is developed into sheltered housing.
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