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Workers dig up Roman skeleton in Norton

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An ancient skeleton has been uncovered during sewer improvement works in Norton.

Workmen with Yorkshire Water made the discovery while excavating a trench under Sutton Street recently.

Chris Pole, project officer for Northern Archaeological Associates Ltd (NAA), which excavated the finds and are now preserving them, said: “We were monitoring the excavation after research showed that the area used to be the site of a Roman cemetery, with a number of burials uncovered during the construction of St Peter’s Church in the late 19th century.

“The Roman cemetery was located alongside Langton Road, which roughly follows the line of a Roman road leading south-eastwards from the fort at Malton and the settlement of Derventio (Norton). Burials could not be placed within the limits of a town in the Roman period, as this was regarded as unclean.

“The skeleton was laid in a grave in a crouched or foetal position, possibly mirroring birth. While it was located within the limits of a Roman cemetery, it has similarities with burials of prehistoric date. No grave goods were placed with the burial.

“The skeleton has been removed in order to protect it from damage from the installation of the sewer pipe, and will be taken our offices in Barnard Castle for further analysis.

The remains will be examined by a specialist to establish the sex of the individual and their age at death, as well as whether they had any injuries or illnesses.”

Yorkshire Water is working in Sutton Street to install new sewers under the road to reduce the chance of flooding to local properties.

Work is due to be completed in the spring.

 

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