Appendix 9: Human Remains

Context 125 [grave fill - Trench E, Period 4.5]
A fragmentary inhumation, probably charnel reburied in a small wooden box.

Context 1385 [grave fill - 1.29, Period 4.5]
The cremation (context 1385) formed the contents of a pottery vessel of a type consistent with a 3rd century date. The pieces of bone were all calcined and heavily fragmented, and many had been crushed to dust. Several elements could be identified and these included skull fragments as well as part of a distal humerus. No indication of sex, age at death, or pathology could be recognised. There was no evidence of any other mammal species present, although the fragmentary nature of the cremation does not preclude this possibility.

Context 1327 [grave fill - 1.31.70, Period 4.5]
A second cremation, recovered from context 1327 (described as a ‘grave fill'), was also dated to the 3rd century. Although most of the fragments were calcined, they were not burnt to such a high degree as those in the other cremation. The only fragments positively identified as human were several tooth roots and a phalanx. Again, there was no indication of sex or age at death.

Context 3004 [grave fill - 3.3.2, Period 2.2] (Fig.26)
A single inhumation dated no more closely than ‘Roman' was excavated from context 3004. The skeleton was reasonably complete, although the bones were rather broken. Preservation was poor, with the bones being fragile and battered and with 20-50% fresh breaks evident. The colour of the bones was fawn, with extensive black staining apparent on a number of elements.

In the lower jaw, the right M1 was worn down to the roots and the left M1 had been lost some time before death, as the alveolar bone showed extensive remodelling. In the upper jaw, the right M1 had also been lost ante mortem and the M2 was worn down to the roots. The left M1 was also extensively worn and caries was evident on P3 and P4. Most of the anterior and one of the posterior teeth showed enamel hypoplasia. The anterior teeth were fairly well worn and, unusually, the lower cheek teeth had very rounded and polished occlusal surfaces. At some point the right fibula had been fractured but had healed well and remodelled extensively. Both tibiae had unusual pitted striations on their surfaces associated with a chronic, low level, inflammatory response. Small, localised lesions may represent the occurrence of leg sores.

On the basis of attributes of the skull and pelvis, it was established that these remains represent a mature male. Analysis of the tooth wear and the pubic symphysis indicate an age of between 30 and 40 years.


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