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25 January 2013
Prehistoric headless skeleton unearthed in Cambridgeshire

Archaeologists have unearthed decapitated human remains beneath former allotment land in Soham (Cambridgeshire, England). Experts from the Hertford-based firm Archaeological Solutions are currently excavating a Roman settlement on land off Fordham Road, before 96 homes are built on the site. Among the wealth of artefacts found are a number of human burials thought to predate the Roman settlement, including one where the person was decapitated before being put in the ground.
     Andrew Peachey, a specialist in prehistoric and Roman pottery at the company, said: "Prior to the Roman settlement, the margins of the Fen and island [of Ely] were heavily exploited by prehistoric settlers, including one who appears to have been decapitated before being placed in a crouched burial in a circular pit. The reasons for decapitation are purely theoretical at this stage. One is obviously execution and another is to prevent ghosts. Quite often the head is found somewhere on the site, but it's rare for it to be completely missing. This then throws up the question of where the head was taken."
     The dig is expected to continue until the end of this month.

Edited from Ely Weekly News (23 January 2013)

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