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BIRDOSWALD ROMAN CEMETERY

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The site of a Roman cremation cemetery associated with Birdoswald Roman fort. The cemetery lies beyond the western extra-mural settlement, on an elevated point on the edge of the river escarpment. The site was discovered in 1959, and comprised seven cremation burials represented by complete urns, some with surviving bone, and iron nails. The pottery indicated a broadly third century date. Geophysics in 1997-8 identified anomalies believed to be further cremation burials, and also identified an area heavily disturbed by farming machinery in the east of the site. Excavation of eight evaluation trenches was undertaken by Time Team in 2000. Three further cremation burials were recorded. Two of these were heavily disturbed by ploughing, and the third is the only complete cremation burial to have been excavated from any cemetery on the line of Hadrian's Wall. Many pieces or worked bone were retrieved from the pyre debris within the urn, and were identified as deriving from biers rather than smaller boxes.

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