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Romano-British Cemetery, Ancaster

Reference Name MLI30333

Romano-British Cemetery, Ancaster

Romano-British cemetery and associated buildings, to the east of the Roman town of Ancaster.


Eleven inhumation burials were revealed by limited excavation outside the line of the eastern defences of Ancaster, at about SK 9859 4361. All of the burials were positioned with their heads to the west and were entirely without goods. Four of the graves were partially stone lined. The robbed remains of at least two Roman stone buildings were also revealed. One building measured at least 45 feet by 18 feet; the other at least 20 feet by 10 feet. Pottery, not later than the 2nd century in date, was in association. It is possible that the buildings were demolished when the town defences, of which the eastern side lies only 75ft away, were erected. {1}{2}

At least seven infant burials, both complete skeletons and isolated bones, were revealed in December 1980, during a rescue excavation at 22 Roman Way, Ancaster. {3}

The Roman town and cemeteries at Ancaster were the subject of a three-day archaeological investigation by the television programme 'Time Team', in September 2001. The investigation commenced with a programme of systematic field walking, followed by geophysical survey, landscape survey and trial trench excavation:
The magnetometry survey identified a wealth of archaeological anomalies in the area to the east of Ancaster (area B), including a large number of clearly defined linear features and enclosures. These features were on a different alignment to the Roman town, and were thought to comprise part of the former cemetery and a surrounding field system, which appeared to extend beyond the survey area. The remains of a former road or causeway was also recorded, in the south-west part of the survey area. This feature was aligned on a roughly east to west axis and appeared to have been built upon by the town defences.
Subsequent excavation revealed a number of linear ditches and small scoop features in this area, some of which contained a jumble of limestone fragments, animal bones and human remains. The human bone fragments were mostly well-preserved, though fragmentary, and represent the remains of several individuals, including at least four adults and two children. The mixed nature of this material indicates that these remains have been redeposited, and it was suggested that these features represent an attempt to move and re-bury the remains of individuals disturbed by the formation of the town defences.
The excavations also confirmed the existence of the former Roman road, previously identified by the geophysical survey. The initial surface was thought to be built in the 1st century AD, and was comprised of a compacted layer of small, rounded pebbles, overlying a less compacted layer of similar material. The road appears to have gone out of use before the construction of the town defences and the later Roman settlement in this area. {4}{5}{6}

2 Index: South Kesteven records. Ancaster. SK 02.58
3 Article in Serial: Lane, T.. 1991. 'A Roman Building in Roman Way, Ancaster' in Lincolnshire History and Archaeology. pp.28-32
4 Intervention Report: GSB Prospection. 2001. Geophysical Survey at Ancaster Roman Town and Cemetery. Area B
5 Intervention Report: Time Team. 2008. Ancaster Roman Town and Cemetery. TT site code: ANS01
6 Excavation Archive: Archaeological Project Services. 2002. Plot 4 Marriots Gate, Lutton. -

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The following reports are available from the ADS digital library.
4 Intervention Report: GSB Prospection. 2001. Geophysical Survey at Ancaster Roman Town and Cemetery. Area B

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Last updated: 07-December-2017 13:50:30

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