Monument record LKH 107 - Bliss Estate, Joist Fen (Rom)

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Human skull from Joist Fen, Lakenheath.


Grid reference Centred TL 6938 8587 (50m by 50m)
Map sheet TL68NE


Type and Period (1)

Full Description

Human skull from Joist Fen, Lakenheath.
Found August 1985 by (see 'Not to be published on web' tab for finder/s and/or findspot/s), machine driver, whilst cutting a new drainage channel on the Bliss Estate. It was found at a depth of about 2 1/2 feet, in silt on the W edge of a buried roddon, below peat. A rim of a Rom shell gritted jar was found in the vicinity, as was a substantial amount of a buff coloured vessel (found about 20 yards from the skull); both vessels in the possession of (see 'Not to be published on web' tab for finder/s and/or findspot/s), another machine driver.
The skull came out of a ball of earth in the machine bucket - the sides of the drainage channel were too steep and slippery to enable a close inspection of the find spot for other bones, but no others were observed at the time of discovery.
The skull consists of the cranium, lower jaw and one vertebra. The lower jaw is broken in the centre; part of the jaw has been cut away on the left side, starting at the corner of the jaw and running to the point where the jaw has broken. This cut appears to be ancient and was probably caused by a metal blade. The skull is that of a robust male in old age (S3). There is thus a strong possibility that this is a decapitated head of an adult male, which was deposited in a water course soon after the beheading and swiftly incorporated into river silts before the flesh had rotted away; an IA or Rom date is likely.
Skull seen by EM at Mildenhall Police Station 14 August 1985. Findspot visited and finder interviewed by EM same day. Skull likely to be released into custody of Mildenhall Museum.
Site is under a poplar plantation currently being cleared (S2). Grid reference revised from (see 'Not to be published on web' tab for finder/s and/or findspot/s) to accord with mapped position of the drainage channel.

Sources/Archives (4)

  • <M1> Unpublished document: Suffolk Archaeological Service. Parish file. Parish file : Eastern Daily Press, 14 August 1985; (S3).
  • <S1> (No record type): Eastern Daily Press, 14 August 1985.
  • <S2> (No record type): SAU (Martin E), 15 August 1985.
  • <S3> Unpublished document: Suffolk County Council Archaeologcial Service. Various. SAU, Anderson S, 'A Human Skull from Joist Fen, Lakenheath', ms report, January 2000.

Finds (2)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

Record last edited

Apr 20 2011 2:21PM

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