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Page last updated at 15:19 GMT, Tuesday, 19 January 2010
Weston skeleton gives up secrets
Skeleton found at Weston College
The skeleton was found during a dig at the college's Knightstone Campus

A Roman skeleton, which was found in Weston-super-Mare last autumn, has been dated by archaeological experts.

The find at Weston College is described as an adult male of slender build, aged between 36 and 45 and of "smaller stature than the Roman average".

It was also revealed that the skeleton was complete and well-preserved for a set of 1,800-year-old bones.

Results also indicate the life of this particular Roman inhabitant of Weston was defined by disease and hard labour.

Dr Malin Holst who conducted the analysis said: "The skeleton showed evidence of a wide range of diseases and pathological conditions, some of which are rarely observed in archaeological skeletons.

"There were congenital anomalies relating to early foetal development including an additional vertebra, unusually shaped vertebrae, additional ribs and shortened femoral necks.

"Findings also confirmed the man also suffered from ill health during later adulthood - ailments included gallstones, chronic sinusitis, dental decay and severe abscesses and periodontal disease."

'Tough life'

The man clearly had a very tough life of hard labour with the analysis also revealing degeneration of the spinal and hips joints, osteoarthritis, spinal lesions and inflammation of the shins amongst others.

In addition to the skeleton, pottery, animal bone, shellfish, coins and metal objects were also found last September.

Analysis of these confirm that the building was used as a dwelling and occupied for a considerable period of time between the 2nd to 4th Centuries AD.

All of the objects were unearthed at the site of the proposed extension to the college's Hans Price building during an archaeological dig by the Avon Archaeological Unit.

A full publication of the excavation results is expected in 2011.

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