London, Sep 23 (ANI): A sprawling Roman settlement has been discovered on the grounds of Cambridge's Newnham College, where the digging process was being carried on in search of Anglo-Saxon skeletons.
Evidence of a 16th or 17th century farmhouse that could date back to the reign of Henry VIII was unearthed at the site as well.
"We knew there was a Roman settlement here before but we had no idea of the size," Heritage Key quoted Catherine Hills as saying.
"The village has been buried under the gardens for nearly 2,000 years, and may have seen the Roman conquest of Britain and Boudicca's revolt. The 16th-century farmhouse was a complete surprise."
The site first became of interest in the late 1930s when excavations for World War II air raid shelters lead to the discovery of five skeletons. Back then, archaeologist Dorothy Garrod and a team of women from the college excavated the graves using dessertspoons and toothbrushes.
The dig revealed large amounts of Roman pottery, enough to convince Dr Hills and fellow archaeologists Carenza Lewis that they dug through to the remains of a 2,000-year-old settlement.
This is significant as it suggests that the Roman presence at Newnham was far more considerable than previously thought.
"East Anglia is rich in Roman and medieval remains just waiting to be discovered. People threw away a lot of rubbish, and their old pottery and animal bones are now allowing archaeologists to discover the existence of entire villages," Lewis said.
"We are starting to realise the huge extent of Roman settlement around this area," Lewis added. (ANI)