Urn X-ray picks up Roman remains
THE Romans had something to declare at Exeter Airport – 2,000 years after they arrived in Devon.
Passing through customs was a very old pot that the visitors had left behind during their stay in the county some time in the mid-70s AD.
The black-burnished urn was dug up during an archaeological dig in Cullompton and since then everyone has been wondering what was in it.
Rather than put a hand in and root about inside or hold it upside down and scatter the contents on the table, the pot was sent along to the airport which has a big X-ray machine usually devoted to ensuring airline passengers' security.
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Staff from Exeter's Royal Albert Memorial Museum – whose own X-ray gear was a bit small for the job – gathered round to see what would be revealed.
And in the end it was a 2,000-year-old dead Roman. Or at least, the remains of a dead Roman, along with some strange curved objects that may or may not be pieces of jewellery or brooches.
Jenny Durrant, the museum's assistant curator of antiquities, said experts would now be sifting through the remains to learn more. "It was very unusual to find an urn like this intact. It could have been a Roman soldier or may be even a well-off local person."
The find is helping rewrite the history of Cullompton. A Roman fort at St Andrews Hill in the Mid-Devon town, which was abandoned around the mid-70s AD, was discovered in 1984.