Page last updated at 11:09 GMT, Friday, 9 October 2009 12:09 UK

Gloucester body 'is Goth warrior'

Goth warrior skull
Chemical analysis of the warrior's bones show he was mostly vegetarian

A late Roman period body unearthed in Gloucester has stunned experts after tests suggested it was a Goth warrior from eastern Europe.

The man, aged 25 to 30, who was dug up north of Kingsholm Square in 1972, had always baffled archaeologists.

His elaborate silver belt fittings, shoe buckles and inlaid knife were believed to be from an area between the Balkans and Southern Russia.

Chemical tests now prove he was from east of the River Danube.

This has led historians to suggest he was a Goth mercenary in the Roman Army.

Pirate warden?

The large bones date to about 400AD, just 10 years before Rome itself fell to Visigoth invaders, and tests showed he was mostly vegetarian.

They were discovered in a mausoleum, suggesting he was a man of high social status.

David Rice, archaeology curator at Gloucester City Museum, said: "Archaeologists have always wondered who he was and what he was doing in Gloucester.

"We've discovered he came from way outside of the Roman Empire, from the other side of the Danube."

It was possible to detect he lived in very cold regions as a child, before moving west, he said.

Mr Rice added: "To have such an unusual person in this city means that Gloucester was a more important place in Roman times than we've previously thought.

"Perhaps there were pirates coming up the River Severn?"

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