Iron Age and Roman Skeletons Discovered on Alderney
Well-preserved skeletons from the late Iron Age and Roman periods were found in Alderney, one of the channel islands.
The two skeletons are almost wholly intact, which is thought to be rare for that period, and have lain undisturbed in the sandy soil at Longis not far below ground for around two thousand years.
One of the skeletons is wearing fragile bronze and iron neck rings and also a bracelet. The dig team of approximately a dozen includes a human bones expert, so they hope to learn more about the age and gender of the individuals, and maybe how they died.
Both skeletons were lying on their backs with the heads slightly propped up, and the graves have been carefully raised, and there are strong indications of further Iron Age graves.
Dr Jason Monaghan, the head of heritage services, said the discovery was very significant. “It’s fascinating because Alderney is a small island and it was obviously very important during the Iron Age, there was something happening in Alderney that made it a high status community, and in the Roman times it was very important as well.”
“This area at Longis is incredibly dense, we’ve found an entire Roman village and there’s an entire Iron Age cemetery, we think there should be an Iron Age village somewhere here, and that could be very important in terms of advancing our understanding of Iron Age society.”
Along with the Iron Age skeletons a number of artefacts from the Roman and Frankish periods have been discovered.
Roman buildings have been traced this week beneath Longis, a doorway to a building has been found, along with a paved courtyard and even a paved road.
It is thought that these buildings were used right until the end of the Roman empire, which is when Alderney’s historic nunnery was built.
A lot of Roman pottery has also been uncovered and Dr Monaghan said it is in very good condition.
He was also excited about some pottery and glass from the Frankish era which have been discovered. “We hardly have any artefacts from this period, and we’ve now doubled those from this dig alone.”