Friday, July 19, 2013

Corinium’s dead – Excavating Cirencester’s Tetbury Road Roman cemetery

Recent excavations just beyond the walls of Roman Cirencester revealed the unexpected survival of parts of a town cemetery. Neil Holbrook, Ed McSloy and Jonny Geber explained to Matthew Symonds the results of our best glimpse of Corinium’s occupants for 40 years.

It started as a watching brief in 2011. Although Bridges Garage in Cirencester was known to lie on the site of a former Roman cemetery, it was believed that deep petrol tanks had long since destroyed any archaeology. When the garage was originally built in the 1960s on open ground beside Tetbury Road, in Cirencester’s western outskirts, it triggered salvage recording by Richard Reece. He managed to record 46 cremation burials and eight inhumations as the site was dug away around him. Fiftyyears later, as the bulldozers rolled in once more, it quickly became apparent that pockets of the Roman cemetery had survived intact. Cotswold Archaeology duly assembled an excavation team.

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