Archaeologists working at a site being prepared for highway construction found the remains of two men with legs chopped off and their heads crushed in.

Bizarre Burial

Excavations were done in Cambridgeshire in preparation for the expansion of A14 highway connecting Cambridge to Huntington have yielded amazing finds covering six millennia of history. Among the newest and most unusual are the gruesome remains of two men believed to have been slaves of the Roman Empire.

The skeletons, which are believed to be from the fifth century during the late Roman or early Saxon period, were placed in a T shape at a right angle to each other, with the heads turned away from each other. The bones of their lower legs were placed next to them by their shoulders.

The remains were found in a midden, what is known as a garbage dump used for domestic and kitchen waste. No definitive word has yet been made about the fate of the unfortunate souls. Archaeologists have yet to determine if the mutilations happened before or after death, but the initial speculation is that something horrifying must have happened to the men.

"Somebody really, really didn't like these guys," archaeologist Jonathan House of the Mola Headland Infrastructure says.

Aside from the skulls, most of the bones in the skeletons are in good condition. They will be put to tests including carbon dating and DNA tests to help experts uncover the story behind the gruesome deaths.

Another Body

Some 164 feet away from the burial site, experts dug up the remains of another man thrown into a timber-walled Roman well that had begun to fill by the time the body was hurled inside.

The third skeleton did not have legs too. In fact, the entire lower body of the skeleton is missing. Based on the position of the skeleton when it was found, the third man's torso was fully intact when it fell into the well.

"People talk about the archaeology of conquest, but I have never felt it as strongly as here," says Kasia Gdaniec, an archaeologist at the county council of Cambridge. "The Romans arrive, the people who were here are completely subjugated, everything changes and is never the same again."

The Site

The excavation site is just one out of 40 being examined by a huge team of archaeologists working on the largest dig in the United Kingdom.

The burial site was found in a shoddily made ditch, which was more of a makeshift windbreak than a symbol of a stronghold. One theory is that the site was a temporary camp set up by the Romans on their way to Hadrian's Wall.

However, the archaeologists also found as many as 40 pottery kilns of various sizes, suggesting it was a farm for producing the empire's supply of wheat, beans, cereals, and root crops off the labor done by slaves.

"We are not seeing trade and peaceful co-existence here," says Gdaniec, "we are seeing enslavement."

Among other interesting finds in the 1.35 square mile-site include prehistoric barrows and cremation pits, three henge monuments, supply farms dating back to the Iron and Roman Ages, and an abandoned medieval village.

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