by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – Archaeologists excavating in Cambridgeshire, England have unearthed the skeletal remains of a person they believe may have been crucified when Britain was under the rule of the Roman Empire, Christian Headlines (CH) reports.
Discovered by the UK’s Albion Archaeology heritage service, the remains are of a man with a nail through his heel, and possibly represent the first evidence of a Roman crucifixion in the United Kingdom.
In a statement about the find in the Cambridgeshire village of Fenstanton, Corinne Duhig, a human bone specialist of Cambridge University’s Wolfson College said the remains are “almost unique” because of their “good preservation,” CH reports.”This shows that the inhabitants of even this small settlement at the edge of empire could not avoid Rome’s most barbaric punishment,” Duhig said.
David Ingham, project manager at Albion Archaeology, said in a separate statement that this is the first time an excavated skeleton was found to have a nail in it. “We know a reasonable amount about crucifixion … how it was practiced and where it was practiced and when and so on from historical accounts,” Ingham explained. “But it’s the first tangible evidence to actually see how it worked.”
While the remains were first discovered in November 2017, the nail was not seen until a later date because it was covered over by mud, CH reports. The man who was crucified was apparently between 25-35 years old and his skeleton presents signs of injuries, abnormalities and infection that show he suffered before he died.
The skeleton was found at the location of five cemeteries where 40 adults and five children were buried. “These cemeteries and the settlement that developed along the Roman road at Fenstanton are breaking new ground in archaeological research,” archaeologist Kasia Gdaniec from the Cambridgeshire County Council’s historic environment team said in a statement.
“Burial practices are many and varied in the Roman period, and evidence of ante- or post-mortem mutilation is occasionally seen, but never crucifixion,” Gdaniec said.