Mystery Of An 1,800-year-old Murder | Archaeologists Unearth Body

Vindolanda Roman Fort

The skeletal remains of one child (possibly a girl), thought to be between 8 and 10, have been found in a shallow pit in the corner of a barrack room floor at Roman forte. Her posture suggests she may have been tied up.

The skeleton was found during an excavation at the Vindolanda Roman fort near Bardon Mill in Northumberland. Archaeologists think 1800 year’s back the child was murdered and then buried in a rush so as not to arouse suspicion. The place where the body was found dates back to the mid-third century.


‘All sorts of scenarios are being considered. First and foremost we could be dealing with a slave, not a free person.


‘There could have been a dispute between two soldiers, and one of them could have decided to damage the other’s property. In Roman times slaves were considered to be property, and it is possible the little girl was harmed to settle a score,’ Andrew Birley, Vindolanda’s director of excavations, was quoted as saying.


‘What I can say for certain is that this was a crime that had to be covered up quickly. It would not have been easy for the murderers to carry the body outside of the fort because of check points, and this is why the child was disposed of within its boundaries.’

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