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Archaeologists discover rare evidence of Late Roman official in Leicester

Archaeologists from University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS) have recently excavated a Late Roman cemetery at Western Road in Leicester’s West End and amongst the 83 skeletons recorded by the team, one burial is proving to be very exciting.

The simple grave in question had been dug into mudstone on the west bank of the River Soar, to the south-west of the Roman town close to the important road known as the Fosse Way. Buried in the grave was the remains of a middle-aged man wearing an elaborately decorated belt in a style that would have been worn by a Late Roman soldier or civil servant during the second half of the 4th century or the early 5th century AD.

Nick Cooper, Post-Excavation Manager at ULAS, said: “The survival of the delicate thin sheet bronze belt plate is remarkable. It is cast in the so-called ‘chip-carved’ style decorated with interlocking spirals and would have been riveted to a wide leather belt or girdle with a thinner securing strap running through the buckle and ending with the strap end.”

The find, which is rare in Britain, was positioned at the waist of the skeleton and comprises a belt buckle, belt plate and strap end.

This discovery at Western Road is the first occurrence of such a complex belt set in Roman Leicester.

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