Cows and Crucifixion: Excavations at a Roman roadside settlement in Fenstanton, Cambridgeshire
Excavations in 2017-18 at Fenstanton, Cambridgeshire, on the site of a new housing estate, led to the discovery of a large, previously unknown Roman settlement on the Via Devana. One of its functions was as a specialist centre for processing cattle carcasses, collecting the grease and marrow to produce soap and cosmetics.
The skeletons of 48 people were found, spread across 5 small cemeteries, with evidence of an unusually high number of illnesses and injuries. Remarkably, one of the skeletons was found with an iron nail through his heel – only the second time anywhere worldwide that physical evidence has been found of Roman crucifixion.
This talk will discuss the settlement’s population and how they lived, and what may have led to one of its inhabitants being crucified.
An hour-long TV documentary about the crucifixion was released in the USA in November, and is due to air in the UK on BBC4 in 2024. The skeleton of the crucified man will also feature as part of the British Museum’s new ‘Legion: life in the Roman army’ exhibition that opens on 1st February.
Speaker: David Ingham FSA MCiFA
David is Archaeological Project Manager at Albion Archaeology. He holds an MA in Classics and an MSt In Professional Archaeology from Oxford University. He is the editor of Bedfordshire Archaeology, Secretary for CBA South Midlands and East Midlands, and Chair of the Nene Valley Archaeological Trust.