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Ancient skeletons halt construction of Scottish health centre

The discovery of ancient remains and other objects has brought construction of a new health centre in Musselburgh, Scotland, to a grinding halt.

Progress on the site has been delayed by at least six months after significant Roman remains were discovered.

Now architects have revealed the extent of their discoveries, which include human remains, the bones of horses and weapons and culinary tools.

Archeologists there said the “unique” finds, among the most impressive ever discovered in Scotland from that period, will help build a picture not only of Roman activity in Musselburgh from 140AD, but improve the wider understanding of life at that time.

As well as the skeletons, some of which have been superbly preserved, there are impressive sections of rampart, thought to be part of a defensive wall for a fortlet.

Site director for CFA Archaeology, which is working on the site, Magnus Kirby said that some of the findings predated the Roman era, with items such as flints possibly dating back up to 5000 years.

“The number of Roman skeletons we have found doesn’t point to this being a cemetery,” he said. “But it is still fascinating. The Roman remains have been very well preserved.

“Of the older human remains that predate that, in some cases there has been nothing but a set of teeth.”

It was known before the excavation began that Romans had existed in that area but the number of discoveries since work began three months ago has surprised archaeologists.

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