Ancient Roman cemetery found under British parking lot

May 6, 2013 at 7:05 PM

LEICESTER, England, May 6 (UPI) -- A British archaeological unit that unearthed England's King Richard III says another dig has discovered a 1,700-year-old Roman cemetery in Leicester.

The find dating back to A.D. 300 has been unearthed under a parking lot by a University of Leicester archaeological unit that previously discovered the king -- also under a Leicester parking lot.

The Roman cemetery includes personal items such as hairpins, rings, belt buckles and remains of shoes, and has evidence of the unusual practice of Christian and pagan burials within the same cemetery, a release from Leicester University said Saturday.

The mixing of burial types, while uncommon, likely "would have been important to people living in Leicester at this time," project leader John Thomas said.

Thirteen sets of remains have been identified under the parking lot in Leicester's historic city center, archaeologists said.

They included both males and female of various ages.

The cemetery was located around 100 yards outside the south gate of Roman Leicester, next to one of the main routes into the town from the south, they said.

"Roman law forbade burial within the town limits so cemeteries developed outside the walls, close to well-used roads," Thomas said.

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