Evidence of Roman Crucifixion in Great Britain

Skeletal remains were found during archaeological excavations in the British village of Fenstanton, a man with a nail in his heel.

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  • It is said to be the first evidence of Roman crucifixion in Great Britain.
  • An expert says that the nail that remains in the bone is almost unique.

To the best of their knowledge, researchers have discovered for the first time evidence of Roman crucifixion in Great Britain. The skeletal remains of a man with a nail in his heel were found during archaeological excavations in the village of Feinstanton, about 90 kilometers north of London, the PA news agency reported on Wednesday.

This is a well-preserved example that is almost unique because of the nail remaining in the bone, said Corinne Duhigg, an expert at the University of Cambridge. “This shows that even the inhabitants of this small settlement on the edge of the empire could not escape the most barbaric Roman punishment.”

Duhigg said that there is only one similar example of crucifixion in the world, namely in Israel. There are also two such cases in Italy and Egypt which have not yet been confirmed.

Crucifixion was common in the Roman Empire

So crucifixion was common in the Roman Empire. However, according to the expert, there are only a few surviving examples because nails were not always used. Many of the victims were tied with T-shaped crosses. In addition, nails were often reused or made into amulets. Cruel punishment was abolished by Emperor Constantine in the 4th century.

In 2017, a total of five small cemeteries with 40 buried adults and 5 children were discovered at the burial site in Feinstanten. Duhigg said the skeleton of Christ crucified had other injuries and evidence of abuse. The researchers have not yet published their results scientifically.

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