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Last Updated: Friday, 10 October, 2003, 13:41 GMT 14:41 UK
Dig unearths Roman skeleton
A skeleton dating from the time of the Romans has been found at an archaeological dig in Suffolk.

The remains of the man, possibly a warrior, were found at the US airbase at Mildenhall.

The excavation is to make way for a baseball field and football pitch.

Other human remains and artefacts from the early Bronze Age through to the Roman period have been uncovered during the dig by Suffolk County Council's archaeological service field team.

'Strange burials'

The archaeologists, who have been working there since July, said the man who was found face down, would have been very muscular and about 30 years old.

Senior project officer Andrew Tester said: "We don't know why the man was buried face down - there were lots of strange burial rituals at that time.

"People were changing religions and there was no one system of burial.

"Some people were buried, some were cremated, others had their heads chopped off and put below their legs and I've even seen one body that was nailed to the ground."

The team has also found two traditional crouch burials from the Iron Age, two skeletons in coffins and the remains of a horse's head, spine and ribs.

Very rich

"The horse was found buried in the remains of a large Roman barn and it may have been put there as a good luck charm so they had a successful harvest," Mr Tester said.

The dig has been aiding their understanding of life on the edge of the Fens 2,000 years ago.

Cattle bones and enclosures which have been uncovered at the site indicated the area was once occupied by farmers.

"We believe the Iron Age people here herded cattle and hunted in the wetlands. That went on until the early Roman period, when they changed to arable farming and started to grow crops," said Mr Tester.

"It suggests these people must have been generating a lot of money for someone and there may have been imperial estates around the Fens or huge land owners."

He said the area appeared to have been very rich and productive during Roman times.

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