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Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 April, 2005, 11:50 GMT 12:50 UK
Remains of Roman rabbit uncovered
The remains of a 2,000-year-old rabbit - found at an early Roman settlement at Lynford, Norfolk - may be the earliest example of rabbit remains in Britain.

The bones - which show evidence the animal had been butchered and buried - are similar to those of a small Spanish rabbit, common in Roman times.

It is thought rabbits were introduced to Britain following the Roman invasion in AD43.

The remains will be officially dated at the Natural History Museum in London.

The bones themselves had been butchered, possibly the rabbit was to be eaten by a Roman, and then buried on the site
Norfolk Archaeological Unit manager Jane Bowen
The remains were found in 2002 during an archaeological dig at the site which was intended to become a quarry.

The archaeological significance of the site was not identified until the end of a 2004.

The full findings were revealed in a report to Norfolk County Council on 13 April.

Norfolk Archaeological Unit manager Jane Bowen said: "We know the rabbit remains are from the early Roman period because pieces of pottery found within the pit date from the first century and the site was undisturbed.

"The bones themselves had been butchered, possibly the rabbit was to be eaten by a Roman, and then buried on the site.

"We believe we have convincing evidence that these rabbit remains could be the earliest known in Britain," she said.

Another rabbit was found in Sussex, but its exact date was uncertain, she added.




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