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Somerset Historic Environment Record

10503

Site Name: Roman and post Roman cemetery, Cannington Park Quarry, Cannington
Civil Parish: Cannington
Comprises:
PRN 32202Geophysical survey (2009-10), S of Cannington
PRN 44860Cannington cemetery excavation (1962-1963), Cannington Park
Grid Ref: ST 251 403 (ST 24 SE)
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Public access:

The public accessibility of this site is unknown. Please assume that this site is private property and do not visit without permission. [Information last updated on 12 December 2002]

Details:

Skeletons have been found in workings at Cannington Park Quarry since 1880. In 1907 undecorated hand made pottery fragments from here were given to Taunton museum. In 1962-3 excavations undertaken by Rahtz on an area threatened by quarrying. About 400 graves were found, all cut into the limestone and orientated roughly E-W with the skeletons of babies, children and adults. Few contained grave goods, but some had Roman coins in the filling. Post Roman graves produced brooches, pottery, knives and an amber bead. The objects might cover a period 350-800AD although some Bronze age and Iron age sherds were also found. Two graves were unusual - one consisted of a circular rock cut trench with a single extended inhumation, the whole covered by a mound, and another, also beneath a mound, contained a skeleton of a young girl surrounded by a structure. Other graves were cut into this one and a well defined path led to it. If the density of burials was uniform there must have been over 2000 prior to quarrying. An association with the Roman settlement at Combwich (PRN 10306) is suggested not, originally as the main cemetery, but as a Christian off-shoot, only to become the main one if Combwich was abandoned. Other finds from the area are a Dark age knife and buckle, pagan glass bead and two whetstones. The area excavated by Rahtz, centred at ST25144046, has been partly quarried away, but the circular rock- cut trench (ST2511047) survives. The cemetery seems to have been centred at ST25114039. Since the completion of the excavations, a further 17 skeletons have been excavated from the area immediately to the NW by Mr C Locke. He has these skeletons and a bronze pin from the same area, and a bronze dagger found when removing the topsoil from Rahtz's excavation. {1}

Roman-Saxon cemetery. Up to 1000 graves were destroyed in the first half of this century by quarrying and further are being destroyed with re-working. Estimated 30-40 graves destroyed in the last few months. Local excavator Locke has recovered several together with finds. Roman buildings, probably a temple complex on the summit of the hill above the cemetery. Earthworks with squared corners are visible, now c100ft from the quarry edge and likely to be destroyed. {2}

The whole site now appears to have been destroyed. {3}

Formerly scheduled as Somerset 340 but now descheduled and quarried away. {4}

References:

1 Detailed records - Ordnance Survey Archaeology Division record card. Record ID: ST 24 SE 5 (1964) Location: HER files.
2 Detailed records - Various. Department of the Environment and English Heritage (1980s) Location: HER collections.
3 Detailed records - Algar, D [David]. English Heritage Field Monument Warden (29/7/1983) Location: HER files.
4 Correspondence - Sedgemoor District Council to English Heritage. (16/12/1980) Location: Unchecked but probably HER file.
5 Correspondence - Somerset County Council to Rahtz, PA [Philip]. (5/2/1982) Location: Unchecked but probably HER file.
6 Mention - Rahtz, P. Late Roman Cemeteries and Beyond. In Reece, R. Burial in the Roman World.  (1977) at 53-64.. Available online.

Record created in January 1988

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