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Sunday, 20 April 2014

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Roman dig in west Cumbria unearths Christian cemetery from Dark Ages

A Christian cemetery dating back to the Dark Ages has been unexpectedly found on Camp Farm in Maryport.

The dig hoped to uncover more of the town’s Roman past, but instead has uncovered evidence of grave sites from between the 4th and 6th centuries AD.

Two graves have been found and at least two more possible graves identified.

Human remains, including fragments of bone and three teeth, were found in one of the graves.

They appear to be what are known as ‘long kist’ burial plots, similar to those found in Scotland. One was lined with stone slabs.

Experts said the find was of national significance and could play a valuable part in providing clues to life following the end of the Roman occupation of Britain and the time before the Anglo Saxons.

Prof Ian Haynes, project director, said: “This is a fantastic result for the team.

“Before now, finds from the vicinity have suggested that Maryport was an important place in the late Roman and post-Roman periods but this is the first substantial evidence to illuminate the character of settlement here during that time.”

It also means that the foundations of what appears to be a large building, discovered last year, could be a Christian church.

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