Black Cat Quarry – Roman Cemetery

Roman grave during excavation at Black Cat Quarry © Copyright ARS Ltd 2022
Roman pottery vessels buried in some of the Roman graves at Black Cat Quarry © Copyright ARS Ltd 2022
Roman glass beaker from one of the Roman graves © Copyright ARS Ltd 2022

A cemetery containing 16 inhumation burials was located to the south of the farmstead. Radiocarbon dates from three skeletons provided a date range between the early to mid-3rd and mid- to late 5th centuries (AD230-470). Grave goods represent some of the highest status artefacts recovered from the site, including two Lower Nene Valley colour-coated beakers and a glass beaker with pinched-out lugs which all date to the late 3rd to early 4th centuries AD.

The skeletons included four examples of decapitation burial, a common burial rite in rural Roman cemeteries. A range of pathological conditions indicate a high-protein diet and labour-intensive lifestyle.

The cemetery may have been used to inter the deceased from towards the end of the second and during the third phases when the farmstead was occupied. Multi-isotope and aDNA analyses are currently being undertaken on the Roman skeletons to find out about the origins and ancestry of the individuals.

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