Archaeologists keen to trace origins of Roman skeleton
A ROMAN skeleton which was found in Kingsholm is being investigated by archeologists who are keen to trace his origins.
The male skeleton was discovered in 1972, north of Kingsholm Square and ever since experts have wondered where he came from. Now, the Gloucester City Museum has had funding for the analysis of the skeleton using new technology to work out where he originated. Member and former president of The Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, Carolyn Heighway, said: "We believe he was a special person in the late Roman period in Gloucester, judging by his grand belt and buckles and that sort of thing.
DISCOVERY: David Rice, archaeology curator at Gloucester City Museum, with the skull.
"Subsequently it was judged by academics that he could have been of eastern European origin and was probably part of the Roman army."
The body had been placed in the floor of a mausoleum and the man, aged between 25 and 30 years old, was wearing distinctive military gear which included a silver belt buckle, shoe buckles and strap end, and a knife with a strip of silver set into the handle.
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It was found by city archaeologist Henry Hurst and was thought to date from the late 4th century, or the early years of the 5th.
Experts believe the man was obviously well regarded in Roman society of the period because of the unusual style of fittings and dress.
Mrs Heighway added: "What we don't know is whether he came from Gloucester and was part of the army, but wore the foreign clothes or whether he was here with the army from abroad."
The Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society is providing financial assistance to Gloucester City Museum for the analysis of the skeleton and using the latest scientific methods it is hoped to establish where this man came from originally and any evidence of his diet.
This is one of seven grants awarded this year totalling over £3,000, provided by a legacy from a Miss Irene Bridgeman and others, which are awarded once a year to individuals, towards the cost of historical and archaeological research in Gloucestershire.
■ For more information visit www.bgas.org.uk.