Archaeologists found 17 decapitated bodies in three ancient Roman cemeteries in Cambridgeshire (East Anglia). According to experts, all of these people were executed by court order. Some of the victims accepted death by kneeling. The severed heads were then placed at the feet of the corpses. Most of the remains are in poor condition.
In all, the Cambridge archaeological team found 52 burials. Thirteen people were buried face down. The assumption is that these people may have been criminals, or the family was ashamed of a dead relative. Most of those buried were adults over the age of 25. Some showed signs of anemia and tooth decay. Fifteen graves contained pots and small pottery from the 3rd to 4th centuries AD. A woman’s hair comb was found in one grave.
According to Isabelle Lisboa, consultant to the archaeological project, DNA samples showed that the people buried represented nine different groups and came from different places. They lived in settlements that supplied the Roman army with grain and meat. The activity of these settlements peaked between 250 and 325. The expert suggested that there may have been tension between the farmers and the military.