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Ancient mass grave found at Games site

AN ancient burial pit containing 45 severed skulls, that could be a mass war grave dating back to Roman times, has been found under a road being built for the 2012 British Olympics.

Archaeologists, who have only just begun excavating the site, say they do not know who the bones might belong to.

"We think that these dismembered bodies are likely to be native Iron Age Britons. The question is - how did they die and who killed them," said dig head David Score of Oxford Archaeology.

"Were they fighting amongst themselves? Were they executed by the Romans? Did they die in a battle with the Romans? The exciting scenario for us possibly is that there were skirmishes with the invading Romans and that's how they ended up chopped up in a pit."

When the main Roman invasion force landed in Britain in 43AD, they moved swiftly through western England to subdue fierce Celtic tribes.

The skulls and other bones were unearthed on the construction site of a new major relief road to Weymouth, which will host sailing events for the London Olympics.

The grave site is close to Maiden Castle - Europe's largest Iron Age hill fort where local tribes are said to have staged a last stand against the Roman legions.

Score said they had counted 45 skulls so far in the 6-meter wide pit, together with a tangle of torsos, arms and legs.

Most of the skulls were those of young men, supporting the theory they could have been killed in battle.


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