Page last updated at 18:20 GMT, Wednesday, 10 June 2009 19:20 UK

Allotment reveals its Roman past

Roman skeletons and artefacts have been found by people digging a pond in a set of Leicester allotments.

The group said they were shocked when they came across a skull and other bones just hours after starting work on the land.

A team from the University of Leicester used pottery to confirm the skeletons dated from the second century AD.

The allotment holders have been told their vegetable plots were probably once a Roman cemetery.

Gary Clayton said: "We were digging away in the pond area ready for some planting and came across some bones.

"Initially we thought they were just animal bones so we didn't think much of it, then we saw a leg and you could tell it was a leg straightaway, with the knee joint."

He added: "The ground has been dug so many times but we usually go just two spades down and this time it was a little deeper."

City archaeologist Tony Ratnam said: "The significance of this find is that although there are hints of a Roman settlement in the vicinity, they have only been hints.

"Now we have a burial, in fact two burials, and we probably have a cemetery, though what we don't know at the moment is how big it is."

The exact location of the find is being kept secret to try to protect it from damage.


The vegetable plots were probably once a Roman cemetery

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