Barbican Research Associates

                    providing an integrated post-excavation service for the archaeological community



Projects - Brougham Roman Cemetery



The first project that Barbican undertook was the analysis of the remains recovered during rescue excavations at Brougham, Cumbria in 1966-67. These had revealed a cremation cemetery of the 3rd century. The excavations had been funded by the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works as the site was being destroyed by roadworks.  In 2000 we were commissioned by English Heritage to conduct an analysis of the archive, and this work was completed in 2002.


The excavations had recovered a rich collection of pyre debris and unburnt grave goods together with the cremated remains of the individuals buried and grave monuments. It is the largest cemetery ever excavated in the Roman north, and is of great importance for understanding the burial ritual practised by the military community stationed in the fort. An extraordinarily rich and unexpected picture of the funerals that took place there was discovered during our analysis. It was clear that the whole funeral ritual had been governed by the  age and sex of the people being buried.


The work was published in 2004 as The Roman Cemetery at Brougham, Cumbria: Excavations 1966 and 1967, Britannia Monograph 21 (London).  The digital archive is available on the Archaeological Data Service here.


In addition a short account was published in the January/February 2005 edition of the magazine British Archaeology and this can be read  on the magazine's web site. The site attracting some attention subsequently as The Times was much taken by two of the women buried there who had been accompanied on their pyres by horses and military equipment and published an article about them. We still get enquiries about our Amazons.  Another article which considers the implications of the finds appeared in the May / June 2005 edition of the magazine Archaeology.


Three of the directors worked on this project.  Hilary Cool was responsible for the project management, the glass report, the stratigraphy and the interpretation. Jerry Evans wrote the pottery reports and Quita Mould wrote the reports on most of the small finds. We were joined by Jacqueline McKinley (human bone), Julie Bond and Fay Worley (animal bone), Brenda Dickinson, Brian Hartley and Hedley Pengelly (samian pottery), Stephen Greep (worked bone), Andrew Fitzpatrick (inscribed and sculptured stone), Lindsay Allason-Jones, Sarnia Butcher and Martin Henig (additonal small finds reports), Justine Bayley and David Dungworth (materials analysis, Gill Campbell (charcoal), Jacqui Watson (mineralised wood), Tony Wilmott (regional background) and Mike Baxter (statistical analysis). We were also able to make use of the report that the late Frank Jenkins had written about the pipe clay figurine.  The splendid reconstruction of a funeral that formed the cover was by Judith Dobie




Clicking the image will take you to the publisher's web site

The splendid reconstruction of a funeral that formed the cover was by Judith Dobie of English Heritage


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