2000-year-old human skeleton found at Gloucestershire Roman villa dig (United Kingdom)
A 2,000-YEAR-OLD human skeleton has been unearthed alongside Iron Age artefacts near Tewkesbury.
Archaeologists uncovered signs of the ancient Roman villa in a field on the edge of Bredon's Norton. It is thought the finds could be of national importance.
Metal detector hunts in recent years had led historians to suspect an ancient community might be found there.
That was confirmed when contractors who were laying a new water pipeline began digging.
Senior project manager Stuart Foreman is leading a team of archaeologists on a six-week excavation at the site.
Mr Foreman, of Oxford Archaeology, said thousands of pieces of masonry, nails, tiles, pottery and clothing will have been unearthed by the time the project is complete.
The area being examined is 200 metres long and 15 metres wide.
He said: "Whenever you find a new villa, it's of national importance. It's pretty unusual to find a new villa that hasn't been recognised before. It's an important local centre."
He said large pieces of masonry and flagstone flooring had been found and it was well preserved.
He said: "Fragments of stone peg-tiles from the roof and sections of painted wall plaster indicate a building of high quality and status.
"The footings survive to a height of nearly 1m cut into the hillside."
He said it did not rank as highly as the famous Roman Villa at Chedworth, near Cheltenham, but was still an important addition to a cluster of villas found in the Cotswolds and upper Thames valley.
Experts estimate that the villa is more than 1,700 years old.
They do not know yet whether the skeleton is of a male or female but believe it is at least 2,000 years old. It has been taken to Oxford to be analysed.
The discoveries were made because Severn Trent Water is laying a new 10.5-mile water pipeline from Strensham water treatment works to Coombe Hill.
It will act as a back-up water supply for Gloucestershire in case the 2007 flooding of the Mythe water treatment works at Tewkesbury happens again. That led to 350,000 people losing their drinking water supply.
The items found by the archaeologists are expected to be handed over to Worcestershire County Museum.
Fuente: This is Gloucestershire: http://www.thisisgloucestershire.co.uk/cotswolds/Roman-villa-remains-discovered/article-2378214-detail/article.html