Workman Unearths Roman Burial during Excavation Work; CARMARTHENSHIRE: Urn Containing Human Bones and Ash Together with Two Oil Lamps Discovered in Johnstown
Byline: STEVE DUBE
A COMBINATION of luck and an alert workman have helped historians add to their knowledge of the Roman occupation of Wales.
Excavations at Carmarthenshire County Council's depot in Johnstown unearthed a burial at the very edge of the Roman Empire. An urn containing human bones and ash together with two oil lamps is the westernmost Roman burial ever discovered in Wales.
They were found by a workman operating a mechanical digger to prepare the foundations of a new warehouse at the council's highways depot at Cillefwr, Johnstown.
"It was brilliant that he recognised something unusual and got in touch with us, " said Carmarthen Museum curator Gavin Evans, who went to the site with archaeologist John Pardoe.
"If it had come out in a full bucket of soil it would have been missed altogether but as it happens he just clipped the edge of it and it broke open to spill white bones and these lamps down the trench."
The remains are thought to be of two people who died in the 1st or 2nd Century AD and the lamps are in such good condition that the maker's name is still distinct.
"This is a very exciting find and follows the first discovery of a Roman burial near the Roman town of Moridunum at Carmarthen last March, " said Cambria Archaeology director Gwilym Hughes. …