Rare Roman burial finds go on show

  |  Published: Feb 12th 2015
Archaeologist uncovering the casket on site (courtesy of Oxford Archaeology)

The echoes of mourning faded almost 2,000 years ago, but the exclamation of amazement was definitely 21st century when Buckinghamshire archaeologists carefully uncovered a Roman burial casket.

And Wednesday February 11 three of the most significant finds went on display at Buckinghamshire County Museum in Aylesbury. The discovery included the remains of a 2nd century cremation casket, bronze and glass ornaments, pottery and food and drink offerings.

County Council Archaeological Officer Eliza Alqassar said a field in Whitchurch, north of Aylebsury, yielded its long-hidden treasure in the late Autumn when the Weekend Wanderers, a Hampshire metal detecting group, uncovered some of the metal finds.

They alerted Ros Tyrell, Finds Liaison Officer for the Portable Antiques Scheme at the County Museum, who called in Eliza.

'We asked Oxford Archaeology to excavate the burial assemblage,' said Eliza. 'This really is a very significant find and the bronze handle is possibly of national importance. The discovery has improved our knowledge on how the Romans lived, what they believed, and how they buried their wealthy.'

Recovered archaeology included an urn, a bronze flagon, a dish containing food remnants, an iron lamp, glassware and high status pottery, along with highly decorated bronze jug handle depicting a scene of figures worshipping next to an altar.

The past three months have been spent painstakingly cleaning and logging the three artefacts - the bronze handle, a samian cup and red jasper intaglio ring - that will be on display at the museum for the next two months.

Lesley Clarke OBE, Buckinghamshire County Council's Cabinet Member for Planning an Environment, said: 'This is a fascinating discovery. It's an excellent example of how our archeological team is carefully looking after the county's heritage for the benefit of future generations.'

Funding for the excavation of around £5,000 came from the Bucks Historic Environment Forum Emergency Recording Fund. Later this year the museum will start fundraising for another £3,000 to fund the conservation of the metal artefacts and bring them to display standard.

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