Bo buried at McDonald's?
By ANDREW PARKER
EXCITED archaeologists may have found the grave of legendary warrior queen Boadicea — beside a McDonald’s burger bar.
If their hopes are realised, the discovery will end a mystery stretching back 1,945 years.
Test digs have unearthed ancient artefacts suggesting the chariot-riding tribal monarch pegged it in the Birmingham suburb of Kings Norton, right by the local fast food joint.
Her 200,000-strong army was wiped out after making a last stand against Roman occupiers in 61AD.
And rather than be captured Boadicea killed herself near the battlefield by sipping poison.
Her struggle was memorably recorded in The Sun’s brilliant book Hold Ye Front Page, which reported on great historical events in our own unique style.
Birmingham’s planners have suspended plans to build houses and flats beside the restaurant so the archaeologists can carry out a full excavation of the site.
And local wags reckon that if the link with the battle against the Romans is proved, the burger bar will start serving Big Macs-imus.
Historians have always believed Boadicea’s rebellion ended somewhere near Birmingham.
They are sure the battle took place in the Midlands as Roman legionnaires marching from Anglesey, North Wales were confronted by English tribes heading up from London. The undulating and wooded topography of the area by the McDonald’s, known as Parsons Hill, matches descriptions given by Roman Empire chroniclers.
And test trenches dug in the soil have yielded Roman artefacts including ancient pots.
Local councillor Peter Douglas Osborn, an archaeologist and keen conservationist, said: "It’s thrilling to think we may unearth something so intriguing right here in Birmingham."
"Nobody knows exactly where the last battle took place but we know it is somewhere in the West Midlands. It would be priceless if Boadicea’s last stand was next door to a McDonald’s but this site does fit the only descriptions we know of.
It is on the route to Metchley, the Roman fort discovered in Birmingham.
If only because of this, it represents a real possibility. However, it is even more encouraging when you consider the evidence and well-preserved artefacts unearthed from trial trenches.
The location matches historical descriptions of the battle site in that it is hilly and surrounded by trees. I also hope the dig may unearth evidence of what name the Romans gave Birmingham."
A McDonald’s spokeswoman said: “We’ll be thrilled if it turns out Boadicea’s last stand was next to one of our restaurants.”
The big dig could take months or even years. Dr Mike Hodder, Birmingham City Council’s senior archaeologist, said: “There’s no doubt it’s an important site and may be the location of the Boadicea battle.
“We know that pots discovered mean Romans were probably there and we know her last battle was fought on a hilly site and was somewhere nearby.
“Everyone is very positive about the find.”
Boadicea was married to King Prasutagus, who ruled over the Iceni — the Celtic tribe occupying East Anglia in what is now Eastern England under the authority of the Romans.
Emperor Nero, who ruled with an iron fist between 54AD and 68, provoked her by forcing her people to endure conscription and pay heavy taxes.
But the final straw came when Prasutagus died in 60AD.
The Romans plundered Boadicea’s chief tribesmen and brutally annexed her dominions.
She vowed to take on Nero and his legions.
And other tribes from all over South East England came to her side ready to die in the fight for freedom.
She relished a battle
BOADICEA led an epic bid to make the Romans "burger off" before her death.
She revolted after Emperor Nero seized her Iceni tribe’s territory in East Anglia following the death of her husband, the clan’s king.
Boadicea, or Boudicca as she is often known, was tortured and beaten.
Her two daughters were raped and other members of the Iceni nobility were enslaved.
The warrior queen and her subjects responded by attacking the Roman colony of Camulodunum, now Colchester, where many inhabitants were former legionnaires and their families.
When Nero sent one of his top legions to crush the revolt, Boadicea’s forces wiped them out.
Her army, by then numbering more than 100,000, then launched bloody onslaughts on the towns of Londinium (London) and Verulamium (St Albans).
Many imperial officials fled and Boadicea was on the point of winning independence for the Britons.
But Roman governor Paulinus Suetonius gathered 10,000 well-trained legionnaires and marched to meet the queen.
He chose his battleground carefully — on a hill between two woods, where his men could not be surrounded.