Remains of probable ancient homicide found

April 28, 2011 at 10:24 PM
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FAVERSHAM, England, April 28 (UPI) -- The body of a girl believed to have been killed by Roman soldiers almost 2,000 years ago has been discovered in north Kent in Britain, researchers say.

Archaeologists working on the site of a Roman settlement built on the route between Canterbury and St. Albans uncovered the remains, the BBC reported Thursday.

"She was killed by a Roman sword stabbing her in the back of the head," Paul Wilkinson, director of the excavation, said. "By the position of the entry wound she would have been kneeling at the time."

Wilkinson is the director of SWAT Archaeology, a company that undertakes digs before major building work takes place on sites that may hold historical interest.

An excavation of Roman ditches uncovered the girl's remains.

She had been between 16 and 20 years old when she was killed, and her bones suggested she had been in good health, Wilkinson said.

Fragments of Iron Age pottery found in the shallow grave date it to about A.D. 50 and suggest she was part of the indigenous population, he said.

That view was reinforced by the orientation of the body. Romans buried their dead lying east-west, whereas this body was buried north-south as was the custom for pagan graves, Wilkinson said.

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