This older female was buried with a pillow to support her headCredit: Wessex Archaeology
Some of the bodies were buried with strange grave goods including a pot containing a chicken wing, a piece of carved bone and indications of a woman buried with a pillow.
The grandeur of the graves and items inside are different from the standard simple Roman graves and indicate that the individuals buried were of high status.
Located in Somerton, near Glastonbury, the ancient resting place is said to provide fresh insight into the life and death of residents in south-west Britain after the Roman invasion.
Roman forces initially landed in Kent and took the south-east of the country back in 43AD.
Tiny nails were also found at the bottom of a lot of the graves, indicating these people were buried in hobnail boots.
The structure of the graves is what has fascinated archaeologists the most.
Most of them are lined with local stone and sealed with slabs that were used to create roofs 2,000 years ago.
One grave even has a tent-like structure above it made from these slabs.
Jewellery was also found in the graves as well as a coin dated to the time of Emperor Vespasian, who ruled from around 69 – 79 AD.
Steve Membery, an archaeologist and member of the South West Heritage Trust, told The Guardian: “This site is a significant discovery. The individuals were evidently of some status.
“Most graves in Roman Britain are pretty much a rectangular cut with someone laid on their back.
“They’ve actually built these graves. There’s been a lot more care taken over these.”
Membery thinks that the ancient people would have lived and worked in a Roman villa known to have existed nearby.
This villa is yet to be discovered but an outhouse and a barn associated with it have been found.
Membery thinks it’s important for experts to note how the British people appear to have adopted Roman burial practices over time.
The older graves just have bodies squashed in but the later ones have adopted the Roman practice of lying them flat and placing goods close to the deceased’s head.
Experts will now carry out DNA analysis on the individuals to try and work out why they were buried at Somerton.
It’s thought that they are British people who had adopted Roman culture but the archaeologists don’t want to speak too soon.
Cllr Faye Purbrick, the cabinet member for education, said: “The findings are both exciting and extraordinary, providing us with valuable insight into Somerset’s early history.
“We will be able to understand so much more about the lives of Roman people in Somerton thanks to these discoveries.”’
A full report of all the findings is intended to be published in due course.
In other archaeology news, a secret ‘Sphinx’ chamber has been found under the Roman Palace of Emperor Nero after being lost for 2,000 years.
China’s Terracotta Army has grown as 200 more ‘warriors’ are found in city of the dead.
And, here are the world’s most gruesome ancient burial sites.
What do you make of the Roman discovery in Somerset? Let us know in the comments…