Baby burials in Buckinghamshire linked to presence of Roman 'brothel'

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London, June 25 (ANI): Archaeologists believe a brothel could be the only reason behind a mass burial of 97 infants at a Roman villa in the Thames Valley.

Tests on the site at Hambleden in Buckinghamshire suggest all died at 40 weeks gestation, very soon after birth. Unwanted pregnancies could have been common at Roman brothels and with no other method of contraception, infanticide could be the only way out.

"There is no other site that would yield anything like the 97 infant burials," the BBC quoted Dr Simon Mays, a skeletal biologist at English Heritage's Centre for Archaeology, as saying.

More than 300 boxes full of artefacts, pottery and bones were recently re-discovered at Buckinghamshire County Museum along with Alfred Heneage Cocks' original report published in 1921, and a small photo archive. The records give precise locations for the infant bodies.

The team plans to carry out DNA tests on the skeletons in a bid to establish their sex and possible relationship to each other.

They are also trying to uncover any other information that might suggest a motive for the practice. (ANI)

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