15 August 2022 The Future is the Product of the Past

The Headless Corpses of Somersham was Victims of Roman Executions

Excavations at Knobb’s Farm in Somersham, Cambridgeshire, unearthed three small late Roman graves on the outskirts of an agricultural village.

Archaeologists found many a cluster of decapitated corpses dating back to the 3rd century in this burial site. The researchers said these bodies belonged to Roman military execution victims.

There were 17 decapitated bodies and 13 prone graves among the 52 graves discovered, significantly more than the British average. Cut marks on two victims suggest that decapitation was the cause of death, while cuts on two additional bodies suggest that they were subjected to extreme violence.

Archaeologist Isabel Lisboa said 33% of those found had been executed, compared to 6% in most Roman British cemeteries.

The finds were made during a series of excavations between 2001 and 2010. Photo: DAVE WEBB, CAMBRIDGE ARCHAEOLOGICAL UNIT

At least one of those executed, an older woman found face-down, appeared to have been tortured immediately before to death or mutilated thereafter. Their heads were found placed at their feet or lower legs.

Dr Lisboa, from Archaeologica, said they dated from a time of increasing instability for the Roman Empire, when legal punishments became harsher.

“The number of capital crimes doubled in the 3rd Century and quadrupled in the 4th Century,” she said.

Most of those found were buried in separate graves with many in poor condition and some reduced to sand shadows
Most of those found were buried in separate graves with many in poor condition and some reduced to sand shadows. Photo: CAMBRIDGE ARCHAEOLOGICAL UNIT

“As it was part of the Roman army, directly or indirectly, the severity of punishments and the enforcement of Roman law would have been more severe at the Somersham settlements,” she said.

The settlement is believed to have supplied the Roman army, part of a wider network of nearby military farms at Camp Ground and Langdale Hale.

A “lack of genetic relationships” between the bodies suggests they were either in army service or slaves.

At least two of those found were born in Scotland or Ireland, and another in the Alps.

Dr Lisboa said “Knobb’s Farm has an exceptionally high proportion of decapitated bodies – 33% of those found – compared with burial grounds locally and across Roman Britain.”

Elsewhere, decapitated bodies make between 2.5% to 6% of burials.

Cambridge University’s archaeology unit excavated Knobb’s Farm between 2001 and 2010, ahead of gravel extraction by Tarmac Trading.

Analysis of finds has just been published.

Banner
Related Post

Egyptian Pharaoh Slain in Battle Because of the Hippos

17 February 2021

17 February 2021

The mummy of Pharaoh Seqenenre Taa II, found in 1880, was re-analyzed. When it was found, the deep wounds on...

Vikings arrived in Newfoundland 1,000 years ago: Scientists

20 October 2021

20 October 2021

Vikings’ first permanent settlement in North America – the coastal outpost in Newfoundland known as L’Anse aux Meadows now has...

Treasure of 1,290 Ancient Roman Coins Discovered by Amateur Archaeologist in Switzerland

16 April 2022

16 April 2022

An amateur archeologist has found a big treasure trove of over 1,290 priceless, ancient Roman coins dating back to the...

Vindolanda marks the 1900th anniversary of Hadrian’s Wall with an altar discovery

9 February 2022

9 February 2022

The excavation season hasn’t started yet, but the Vindolanda Roman fort has kicked off Hadrian’s Wall’s 1900th anniversary year with...

Roman boat that sank in Mediterranean 1,700 years ago is giving up its archaeological, historical, and gastronomic secrets

8 March 2022

8 March 2022

The merchant vessel, probably at anchor in the Bay of Palma while en route from south-west Spain to Italy, One...

Japan-Persia Ancient Ties

20 June 2021

20 June 2021

Japanese and Persian ancient ties go back to the 7th century. Silk Road connected Japan with countries and regions far...

Roman Empire’s Emerald Mines May Have mined by Nomads as Early as the 4th Century

4 March 2022

4 March 2022

New research by archaeologists from the  Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and the University of Warsaw suggests that Roman Empire emerald...

Excavation in Larissa finds a Hellenistic era sanctuary

27 November 2021

27 November 2021

The Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sport reported on Friday the discovery of ancient Greek and Hellenistic era structures at...

An Urartian female executive grave was found at the Çavuştepe Mound

9 September 2021

9 September 2021

The grave of an Urartian, who was buried with his horse, cattle, and dog, had been found recently. Today, another...

South Ockendon’s Belhus Park Golf Course: A Tudor Garden Discovered

15 July 2021

15 July 2021

Under a golf course, the ruins of Tudor and Jacobean gardens were unearthed. Aerial images of Belhus Park Golf Course...

Secrets of the Galloway Hoard Revealed

27 May 2021

27 May 2021

Experts have uncovered fascinating secrets of a Viking Age hoard discovered by a metal detector to be presented to the...

New Research Shows Angkor Wat’s Incredible Population Density

11 May 2021

11 May 2021

Angkor Wat was the grand capital of ancient Cambodia. The population of Angkor Wat, one of the most magnificent cities...

Egypt discovers five 4,000-year-old ancient tombs in Saqqara necropolis

19 March 2022

19 March 2022

The Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities announced recently the discovery of five 4,000-year-old ancient tombs in the Saqqara archaeological...

Scientists may have discovered pieces of the Asteroid that caused the extinction of the Dinosaurs

14 May 2022

14 May 2022

Scientists are piecing together remnants of the day the extinction of the dinosaurs began. A tiny fragment of the asteroid...

Archaeologists unearth 600,000-year-old evidence of Britain’s early inhabitants

22 June 2022

22 June 2022

New finds have indicated that some of Britain’s earliest people lived in the Canterbury suburbs. According to the research, led...

Comments
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.