For almost 400 years, between the years 43AD and 410AD, Britain was part of the Roman Empire. In those days, it was known to the Romans as the Province of Britannia, and was where Britain gets its name. Even Britain's capital city, London (Londinium), was founded by the Romans (in 43AD) and so where many other British cities, such as Manchester (Mancunium) and Chester (Deiva), a city where the remains of one of the largest Roman ampitheatres outside Italy can be found which held galditorial fights. This is similar to how the British founded many cities and states in their empire, such as Toronto and Virginia.

Rare 2,000-year-old Roman skeleton found in 6ft lead coffin in Yorkshire

22nd November 2007
Daily Mail

A 2,000-year-old Roman skeleton has been found by a member of the public in a farmer's field, it emerged today.

Archaeologists mounted a week-long operation to unearth a 6ft lead coffin from inside a stone chamber in North Yorkshire after they were alerted to the discovery.

They found the well-preserved remains of a Romano-British adult who probably lived sometime between the 2nd and 4th centuries.

'Exciting find': the 2,000-year-old lead coffin and skeleton are examined by Mags Felter of the York Archaeological Trust

Now archaeologists will be able to use the skeleton to establish what everyday life was like for Romans 2,000 years ago.

Experts have opened up the coffin's partially crushed lid but are waiting for the soil to be removed before they can analyse the bones.

Ian Panter, principal conservator with the York Archaeological Trust, said: "We've not yet been able to sex or age the remains, but the skeleton is in pretty reasonable condition.

"We also have the teeth, which is very important. Thanks to modern technology we will be able to use these to shed light on the person's childhood diet and determine whether he or she was born locally, or came from further afield."

The discovery of the half-tonne coffin near Aldborough, North Yorkshire, is rare - only about 300 Roman lead coffins have been found across the country.

Mr Panter said: "I've only ever worked on one other Roman lead coffin burial, and that was from the south of England 20 years ago, so this really is an exciting find."

The expensive lead coffin signifies the person buried was of high status

The casket is plainly decorated and no treasures were found inside, but Keith Emerick, English Heritage's Inspector of Ancient Monuments, said the fact that it was made of lead tells them just as much about the person's life.

He said: "The fact the burial involved an expensive lead coffin signifies the person was perhaps of high status. Funeral practices for such people varied at different times between cremation and interment."

Aldborough, or Isurium Brigantium, was an important Roman garrison and was a major settlement for the Brigantes, the largest tribe in Roman Britain. Some of the walls and two mosaics still exist in the Aldborough Roman Town.