An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in City of York, Volume 1, Eburacum, Roman York. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1962.
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York is no exception to the rule that in urban areas Roman cemeteries normally lay along the main approach roads. The cemeteries within the present City boundary (see Map at end of book) are accordingly described in regions related to the approach roads to the fortress, as listed above (see pp. 1–3). The entries begin with the region to the S.E. and proceed anti-clockwise round the fortress and colonia. The section ends with technical notes on the cloths and cloth impressions from burials coated with gypsum and on the skeletons from the Trentholme Drive Cemetery (see pp. 108–10). References in the text to YMH are, unless otherwise stated, to the 1891 edition of the Yorkshire Museum Handbook. Raine YPL refers to Canon James Raine's notes preserved in the York Public Library under given dates; similarly, Hargrove YM refers to W. Hargrove's MS. notes in the Yorkshire Museum. Glass and jet artefacts from York, mostly but not all from Burials, are treated more fully below in separate sections at pp. 136 and 141.
A late-Roman inhumation cemetery occupies the broader end of the spit of land contained by the confluence of the rivers Foss and Ouse. It is bounded on the N.W. by the Roman civil buildings in the Castlegate area and is traversed by Road 2. Two inscribed sarcophagi from here show evidence of re-use and were perhaps derived from an earlier cemetery on the same site. Both refer to centurions, as if the ground might originally have belonged to a burial club of the centurionate. A small decorative head from the corner of a tomb or precinct (see Inscriptions etc. No. 130; Raine YPL, 31 May 1879, 18) was found in 1879 built into a wall behind the present St. George's Cinema in Castlegate, just N. of Castle Yard. The first four individual burials here listed were found in 1956 when a deep drain was laid across Castle Yard from the area in front of Clifford's Tower to the N. end of the Castle Museum, at a point about 100 ft. W. of the latter (YAJ, XXXIX (1958), 400 ff.).
(i) Coffin, of lead, orientated N.W. to S.E., 4 ft. long by 9 ins. high by 1 ft. wide, made of a single sheet of metal and covered by a plain lid. The bottom lay 8¾ ft. below modern ground-level. It contained the skeletal remains of a child of about seven years, within a thin coating of gypsum held in place by linen wrappings of which fragments survive.
(ii) Coffin, of stone, inscribed and carved (see Inscriptions etc., No. 107), lying to N.E. of (i) at the same level and parallel and symmetrical with it. It had originally been provided by a centurion of the Vlth Legion for his wife Julia Victorina; but it contained the skeleton of a man at least thirty-five or forty years old laid on a bed of gravel and covered with gypsum. Originally, too, a coffin so finely carved and inscribed would have been placed in a tomb-chamber; fragments of tegulae, wall-plaster and building-stones found in an adjoining grave may have belonged to such a structure. But in its secondary use it was buried completely below Roman ground-level. The date of this re-use is uncertain, the sole indication being a sherd of rouletted Castor ware found in the filling of the grave.
(iii) Grave, plank-lined, at right angles to (ii) and 10 ft. to N.E., containing skeletal remains of a man of twenty-five or thirty. The grave, 5⅓ ft. long, was too short for the body, and the head and shoulders had been pressed into a raised position.
(iv) Coffin, of wood, containing the skeleton of a young woman. It had been cut through by burial (iii) and lay immediately to S.W. and in line with it. Three bronze and two bone bracelets were tied on the right shoulder of the body by a leather thong and beneath the same shoulder was the base of a Castor ware beaker.
(v) Coffin, of stone, inscribed (see Inscriptions etc., No. 104), provided for Aurelius Super, centurion of the Vlth Legion, by his wife, and found in 1835. It lay a little to N. of the point where Julia Victorina's coffin (see (ii) above) was subsequently discovered and was orientated with the head to the N.N.W. The skeleton was that of a man 5 ft. 10 ins. tall. The depth of discovery, 7 ft. to 8 ft. below modern ground-level, suggests that this coffin may also have been reused (YMH, 52; J. J. Sheahan and T. Whellan, York and the E. Riding, I (1855), 305; C. Wellbeloved, Eburacum, 110; W. Hargrove, New Guide . . . York (1838), 57; Gents. Mag. (1836), pt. I, 82).
(vi) Coffin, of stone, uninscribed, now in the Multangular Tower, was found within a few feet of the foregoing. This contained a smaller skeleton than (v) and the two burials may be of man and wife (YMH, 53; other refs. as for (v) above).
There is evidence of other burials in addition to those listed above. In 1824 (Yorkshire Gazette, 1 May 1824) and again in 1902 (YPSR (1902), 72) the motte carrying Clifford's Tower was observed to contain abundant human bones, probably thrown up when the ditch was excavated (fn. 1). Skulls and other skeletal remains also came to light when Aurelius Super's coffin (v) was found in 1835 (W. Hargrove, New Guide . . . York (1838), 55). Abundant pottery and sherds are said to have been found in the area. The small perfume flask now in the Yorkshire Museum (H. 2352) was found at the Castle in 1885.
A small cremation cemetery of 1st to 2nd-century date, to W. of Road 1. It lay on the E. side of Fishergate, mainly on the site of the Northern Command Headquarters building, between Winterscale and Melbourne Streets, and extended northwards to the junction of Fawcett Street and Fishergate. Vessels from this cemetery are in the Yorkshire Museum, under the numbers here quoted (Fig. 54):—
H. 50, a pear-shaped jar of light red ware with flat reeded collar, 1st-century type (cf. J. Curle, Newstead (1911), 245, fig. 23); found containing a cremation in 1929 at Fishergate Council School (N.G. 60785104) (JRS, XIX (1929), 186);
The foregoing are all from the site of the Northern Command Headquarters building, and are the only identifiable survivors of a larger number of vessels, some of which contained cremations (YMH, 104; YPSR (1879), 27; Raine YPL, April 1879, 17). There should be added:—
H. 2341, a small cooking pot of grey-black fabric, with acuteangled lattice scoring, 2nd-century type, found in the roadway at the junction of Fishergate and Fawcett Street; also H. 2342, a large wide-mouthed jar with silver grey surface, found in Fishergate, 1894.
Evidence for later burials in the area includes the fine female portrait-head in stone, with 3rd-century hair style, from a funerary statue (see Inscriptions etc., No. 113), found in Fishergate, 1882. An unpublished brick tomb from Grange Garth, found in 1897, is now reconstructed in the Yorkshire Museum as a rectangular cist, 7 ft. 4 ins. long, 1 ft. 5 ins. high, and 2 ft. 6 ins. wide, built of six courses of Roman bricks with a lid of roofing tiles (tegulae) set in mortar, flange downwards.
The following vessels, also in the Yorkshire Museum, are probably from graves in this locality:— H. 872, a pedestal beaker of fairly thick hard red ware with frill below the lip, found in 1880, either under the Northern Command Headquarters building or near Fulford Barracks;
(i) Coffin, of lead, found in 1892 under the street in Walmgate, containing a female skeleton, seven necklaces, sixteen pins, three glass bottles and two coins, Three jet necklaces, one with a pendant medallion of a Gorgon (Plate 68), four jet pins, a bone pin and two clear glass bottles with long necks (H. 321. 7, H. 321. 8. Plate 67) are now in the Yorkshire Museum (H. 321. 1–16); see Glass and Jets, pp. 140b, 142a, 143a, b. One coin is identifiable as of Septimius Severus, c. A.D. 200 (YPSR (1892), 7; J. Raine, Simplicia Florentina (1901), pl. opp. 38).
H. 155, Rhenish motto beaker (Plate 35), with white slip inscription NOLITE SITIRE, 'Don't thirst', between two bands of rouletting (see Inscriptions etc., No. 151). Found in 1914, in Piccadilly, near the river Foss, 20 ft. deep;
A tombstone, with relief carving (see Inscriptions etc., No. 101) illustrated by F. Drake (Eboracum, pl. VIII, fig. 9), built into St. Lawrence's churchyard-wall in the 18th century, may have come from a nearby burial.
Tile tomb, N. of the line of Road 2 (N.G. 61265177), built with six large tiles, stamped LEG VI VI, covering a skeleton accompanied by a vessel described as Samian; found in 1906, on premises then belonging to Shafto's Brickworks, in James Street (York Herald, 26 Feb. 1906).
This area has so far yielded two roadside cremation cemeteries of the early 2nd century, followed by isolated inhumations. A small inhumation cemetery lay well N.W. of Road 4, almost due N. of the fortress.
A small cremation cemetery, just N. of Heworth Grange (N.G. 61205270; 25 in. O.S., Sheet CLXXIV. 7) was disturbed in 1878 during construction of the Foss Islands branch railway (Raine YPL, August 1878, 16).
A small inhumation cemetery, in a field near the junction of Wigginton and Haxby Roads, comprising about a dozen burials accompanied by Roman pottery, was disturbed in 1833 (W. Hargrove, New Guide . . . York (1838), 51). A stone coffin with skeleton was found on the W. side of Clarence Street in 1839 (Yorkshireman, 19 Oct. 1839).
(i) Skeleton of a young adult, found in 1852, 5 ft. below ground-level, in an orchard near Peaseholme Green. With it was a bronze figurine of Hercules represented with club, slain serpent, and apple of the Hesperides (Gordon Home, Roman York (1924), pl. opp. 130; BAA Journ., IX (1854), 88; T. Bateman, Catalogue of Antiquities . . . Bateman (1855), items E.1, 194, and R.1, 23; YMH, 131).
(iii) Coffin, of lead, 4 ft. 10 ins. long by 11 ins. broad, in the Yorkshire Museum (YMH, 151; YPSR (1855), 9). It was found 7 ft. below ground-level in a brickyard, now a light industrial site, E. of Foss Islands Road and S. of Layerthorpe (N.G. 610520), and enclosed a wooden coffin containing a skeleton.
(iv) Coffin, of stone, found near the site of (iii) (YPSR (1855), 9). Other unspecified Roman objects and pottery were found near both (iii) and (iv), including a squat two-handled flagon of red ware now in the Yorkshire Museum (1954. 3. 4).
(i) Inhumation, found before 1842 in excavating a cellar outside the wall, N.W. of Monk Bar; with it were fragments of pottery, a jet finger-ring and a circular copper perfume box, 3/8 in. deep, with inlaid and enamelled lid (C. Wellbeloved, Eburacum (1842), 131, pl. XVII, fig. 1).
This region contained at least two large cemeteries, as well as isolated burials showing some attempt at grouping. Early cremations alongside Roads 6–7, including one close to the N.W. gate of the fortress (Exhibition Square) and another almost 1 m. outside it (Rawcliffe Lane), developed into a cremation and inhumation cemetery extending north-eastwards from S.W. of Road 5 to Bootham and north-westwards at least to The Avenue, Clifton. In the Clifton area there were late 3rd-century cremations. Excepting one tombstone, funerary inscriptions and sculpture have not been found, but tomb fragments used in rebuilding the N.W. gate of the fortress presumably came from this area (see Inscriptions etc. Nos. 122, 126, 127, 135).
A quantity of pottery, including Flavian Samian, was found on the site of the Art Gallery and at the S.E. end of Bootham, but the only certain ossuary is a late 1st or early 2nd-century orange carinated bowl, H. 2102 in the Yorkshire Museum (Fig. 57), from the Art Gallery site, retaining traces of the cremation it once contained.
H. 319.1, a storage jar (Fig. 57) with countersunk handles, of creamy grey fabric with black surface in alternate burnished and unburnished horizontal bands including a band of rubbed cheveron ornament with a series of rubbed hatchings at a slant below. This contained H. 319.2–3, the bases of two bowls of common green glass, H. 319.4–5, two jet bangles, and H. 319.6, a fragment of a third.
(ii) Coffins, two, of stone, marked on the O.S. 1/500 map as 'stone cists' (N.G. 59805239, 59785242) were found in 1885 N.W. of St. Mary's and near the railway respectively; one is presumably the large Roman coffin now in the garden of St. Mary's Hotel.
J. 93. 1017, a small Castor ware beaker (Fig. 57) with cornice rim, of orange buff fabric with brown colour-coating. This contained J. 93.735, a jet bear, 7/8 ins. by 5/8 ins., pierced for suspension between fore and hind legs; J. 93.736, a segmental jet bead with double perforation, and a small bronze follis of Constantine, London mint mark, date A.D. 312–15. (E. Howarth, Catalogue of Bateman Antiquities (1899), 205 and 228; BAA Journ., VIII (1853), 160; Ant. Journ., XXVIII (1948), 174; see Jets, pp. 142b, 143a.
(iv) Vessels, two, found in the same excavations as, and within forty-eight hours of, the foregoing discovery, are now in Sheffield Museum (Fig. 57): J. 93.1029, a cooking pot, of the late 3rd or early 4th century, with black fumed surface, burnished, and obtuse-angled rubbed lattice decoration; J. 93.1030, a tall Castor ware indented beaker of buff fabric with brown colour-coating, with scalloping between the indentations, most of the neck and rim missing (Sheffield Public Museum, Catalogue of Bateman Antiquities (1899), 207).
(v) Coffin and grave goods, found in 1901 at the N. end of Sycamore Terrace, about 2 ft. from the S. boundary wall of Love Lane (N.G. 59685236). The stone coffin, with a ridged lid, already broken into three pieces when found, contained the skeleton of a woman 5 ft. 4 ins. tall lying on her back. The grave goods, H. 5–12 (Plate 67. Fig. 58), consisted of a dark blue glass flagon with applied threads on the neck, an openwork inscription in bone, SOROR AVE VIVAS IN DEO 'Hail sister, may you live in God!' (see Inscriptions etc., No. 150), two jet bangles, a bracelet of blue glass beads, fragments of five bone bracelets, silver and bronze lockets, two yellow glass ear-drops, two marbled glass beads, and a small round glass mirror (York Herald, 15 Aug. 1901; Yorkshire Gazette, 15 Aug., 16 Nov. 1901; YPSR (1901), 11, 104, pl. VII); see Glass and Jets, pp. 140b, 141a, 144a. This burial is often described as Christian.
(vi) Burials, two, were found near together, at a depth of 6 ft., in Bootham itself in 1851. The skull of the first, a young person, and two bronze armlets (J. 93.951 and J. 93.653) are in Sheffield Public Museum (Catalogue of Bateman Antiquities (1899), 168 and 198). The skull of the second, an aged person, once in T. Bateman's museum at Bakewell, is now lost (T. Bateman, Catalogue of Antiquities (1855), R.1.14).
Second-century pottery from Bootham Terrace, given to the Yorkshire Museum by Dr. Gibson in the 19th century, is not here included since there is no proof that it is sepulchral, though the numerous complete pots are suggestive. The Flavian-Antonine pottery, found in 1931 during alterations behind White House, Clifton, a little further N.W. (N.G. 59725261), was thought to indicate occupation (YAJ, XXXI (1934), 77). But previous finds here included later pieces and, among whole pots, the Rhenish beaker inscribed AXSASI (see pp. 65b, 135a) and another colour-coated beaker with white slip decoration now in the Yorkshire Museum (H. 2092).
Of pieces given to the Museum in 1844 (YPSR (1844), 30) only H. 2351, a nest of three intercommunicating jars in orange fabric, is identifiable. Two of three cinerary urns found in 1858 (YPSR (1858), 26) are of the earlier 2nd century: H. 2357, of gritty self-coloured fabric, and H. 2361, a two-handled jar, of hard buff fabric with internal ledge for a lid. To the same period belong the urn and ashes found in 1878 and the two large urns found in 1879 (Raine YPL, Oct. 1878, April 1879, 16, 17); these are respectively H. 2338, H. 2336, both of coarse grey fabric, and H.2339, of grey-black fabric.
An extensive cremation and inhumation cemetery was discovered in the late 17th and early 18th centuries in clay pits, for brick and tile works then situated S.W. of St. Peter's School, recognisable in fields to S.W. of the footpath (25 ins. O.S. Sheet CLXXIV. 6, fields 208, 226, 227, 229) between Queen Anne Grammar School and Westminster Road. The area is limited on the N.E. by Road 5, beyond which, in land occupied by playingfields and untouched by building-development, no discoveries are recorded.
This site was first mentioned in 1681 by Dr. Martin Lister (Royal Society, Phil. Colls., IV, 87), who was more concerned to distinguish between different types of pottery than to describe individual finds from individual sites. More important accounts are by R. Thoresby and F. Drake. The site was prolific—'urns . . . are, when they dig, still daily discovered . . .' (F. Drake, Eboracum, 65)—including both inhumations and cremations. Vague descriptions are given of some of the more important individual finds: a face vase was described and illustrated in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (XV (1685), 1017, fig. 2) and illustrated by F. Drake (Eboracum (1736), pl. VIII, fig. 20).
In 1692 the York schoolmaster, N. Hodgson, writing to Dr. Gale, described urns, small glass 'ampullae' and a hoard of 'above 100 copper coins' (Surtees Society Pubns., LXXX (1885), 284, 287). Some of the urns had potters' stamps and seventy-five of the coins were of Constantine I, the latest being of Magnentius. In 1696 a brick tomb was found, large enough to accommodate three or four corpses (R. Thoresby, Musaeum Thoresbyanum, 2nd ed. by T. D. Whitaker (1816), Catalogue of Natural and Artificial Rarities, III), but of contents only a bracelet 'of copper wreathed . . . being eight inches in circumference' and three beads are recorded (ibid., 108, and F. Drake, Eboracum, 65, pl. VIII, figs. 23–6). In 1697 were found two cremations, pottery, including a flagon, and terracotta waterpipes (but see p. 65n) (R. Thoresby, Royal Society, Phil. Trans. XIX (1695–7), 738); in 1698 a 'coffin' made of tegulae was found (R. Thoresby, ibid., XX (1698), 310, and Musaeum Thoresbyanum, 2nd ed., Catalogue etc., 110).
In 1701 a lead coffin was found (ibid., 110) and in 1702 another, 7 ft. long and 9 ft. below ground containing a skeleton and enclosed in an outer casing made of oak planks 2½ ins. thick nailed together (Royal Society, Phil. Trans., XXIV (1704–5), 1864; Diary of Ralph Thoresby (ed. J. Hunter, 1830), I, 365). In 1712 R. Thoresby (Musaeum Thoresbyanum, 2nd ed., Catalogue etc., 110) described fourteen or sixteen small red urns surrounding a large one containing cremations, and three other urns also containing cremations. F. Drake (Eboracum, 55) describes 'graves for urns, square spots in the earth, the bottom covered with white sand on which the urns were placed, inverted, three, four, or more together', and two stone uninscribed sarcophagi 'lately discovered' (ibid. 55, 65). He also illustrates a jet bangle and pottery (ibid., Appendix, add. pl. between xiii and xiv, figs. 6, 7, 8, 10, 11).
In 1813 two uninscribed stone coffins, with blank inscription-panels, were found close together near the present St. Olave's School (N.G. 595527), each containing a skeleton with feet to the E. (York Courant, 5 April 1813; W. Hargrove, History of York (1818), I, 288). Another coffin, which stood on the S.W. side of Clifton, has now disappeared (YPS Comms. for 1876, 2).
In 1881, finds made in a field next to St. Olave's School were described by Canon James Raine (Raine YPL, Oct. to Dec. 1881, 27–9). They included three skulls and seven cinerary urns, of which two were associated with smaller vessels, while another contained a fragment of a glass vessel. None is now identifiable in the Yorkshire Museum.
In the same area (N.G. 594527; 25 ins. O.S., Sheet CLXXV. 6) two complete cinerary urns and fragments of others, a Rhenish beaker and a Castor ware beaker were found in 1927 (JRS, XVII (1927), 190; YPSR (1927), 34, (1928), 34). Those now in the Yorkshire Museum are (Fig. 60):—
H. 2344, cooking pot in fumed ware, of grey-black fabric with an obtuse-angled lattice scoring, late 3rd to 4th-century type; H. 2345, jar with internal ledge for a lid, of light grey fabric, late 3rd to 4th-century type;
In 1720 'in the grounds of widow Giles near Clifton' were found a lead coffin containing a skeleton and another coffin covered with lead; while in 1729 several urns containing cremations were found in the same general area (T. Gent, History of York (1730), addenda, 5).
A glass jar (Fig. 89) of ice-green colour with lid, containing cremated bones, found in Clifton in 1871 is now in the Yorkshire Museum (1948.3.1) (YPS Trans. (1947–8), 28); see Glass, p. 136b. In the Museum are also several whole pots, mainly colour-coated beakers, that may have come from local burials; of these may be noted H. 153, a motto beaker (Plate 35) of reddish fabric, with shining black colour-coating and the motto DA MI(HI), 'Give it me', in applied white slip (see Inscriptions etc., No. 151), H. 2355, a tazza of pale red fabric, and H. 2360, a screw-necked flagon, 2nd-century.
In Rawcliffe Lane (N.G. 59055342; 6 ins. O.S. Sheet S.E. 55 S.E.) near the presumed line of Road 7, the tombstone of Flavius Flavinus, centurion of the VIth Legion (see Inscriptions etc., No. 78), was found in 1927 (YPSR (1927), 24).
Near and N.W. of the junction of Rawcliffe Lane with Shipton Road a group of three vessels (Fig. 61), datable to about the second quarter of the 2nd century, was found in 1932. They are now in the Yorkshire Museum (H. 2363.1–3), comprising the cinerary urn, which is a jar in coarse grey ware, and two single-handled screw-necked flagons in orange ware (YAJ, XXXI (1934), 77; YPSR (1932), 37).
It is this region, outside the colonia, that contains the greatest concentrations of burials, the most notable in two great cemeteries, on the Railway Station site and on The Mount (Figs. 62, 70). The first was revealed and destroyed when the Railway Station and its ancillary buildings, the coal depots, goods station and engine sheds, and the Royal Station Hotel were under construction in 1870–77, though numerous previous discoveries had been made in the area. (fn. 2) The second was disclosed mainly during building redevelopment about the middle of the same century. In listing the burials topographically the arrangement here adopted is to deal first with the Railway Station Cemetery, served by Roads 8 and 10, in eight areas, the position of many burials being only approximately known; second, with The Mount Cemetery, and other groups or scattered burials along Roads 9, 10 and 11, entered wherever possible under the names of their localities. Inside the mediaeval City Wall Road 10 has been used as a dividing line between the two.
The Railway Station Cemetery: The construction of the railway buildings and their approaches radically altered the topography of the area, obscuring the basic physical structure and removing the landmarks to which discoveries were related. The O.S. maps of 1853, which mark many obliterated features, can, however, be used to establish the position of landmarks mentioned in accounts contemporary with the discoveries.
The cemetery occupied a ridged spur, about 50 ft. above O.D., running from S. to N. between the Ouse and Holgate Beck and ending in Cuckoo Hill, the cause of the Ouse meander S. of Acomb Landing. It is described by J. Raine as 'somewhat elevated' (YPS Comms. (1875), 5) or the 'hill near the goods station' (YMH, 71). The 1853 edition of the 6 ins. O.S. map (Sheet 174) shows the ridge covered mainly by fields on both sides of Thief Lane, the predecessor of the modern Leeman Road. The Roman Road 8, which was only 12 ft. wide, may have followed much the same line, and may in the same way have served only the spur between beck and river. Road 9, the main Roman road to Aldborough which, like the modern Boroughbridge road, used the higher ridge to S.W. of Holgate Beck, may have attracted the burials south-westward; but this group is just as appropriately linked with burials along Road 9 and is treated with them (pp. 94b, 97a,b, 100b, 101a).
The material from the cemetery is almost all derived from the railway works of 1839–41, 1845, and 1870–7. The earliest of these were the building, within the mediaeval Wall, of the Old Station, situated some 100 yds. due E. of the present Station, and the prolongation thereto of the York and North Midland Railway from its earlier temporary terminus, N. W. of Blossom Street. In 1840 goods lines were constructed, athwart the middle of the present Station, linking the York, Newcastle and Berwick Railway to a riverside coal depot; while in 1845 the York and Scarborough Railway was cut right across the ridge, W. of the present Station. Finally, between 1870 and 1877 the S.E. end of the ridge, between the present Engine sheds and the City Wall, was mostly levelled in building the present Railway Station and its adjuncts. It is still perpetuated by a rise in Leeman Road.
The cemetery is defined by James Raine (YPS Comms. (1876), 3) as extending in width from the river to the old railway lines, now the goods line between the Waggon Works and the Carriage Works, and in length the greater part of a mile from the City Wall. But graves have been discovered beyond this distance. In terms of present-day topography the main area may be defined more accurately as including Station Road S.W. of the Cholera Burial Ground, the railway lines immediately S.W. of Queen Street bridge as far as the Railway Museum, the Railway Station, the Royal Station Hotel and part of its garden, the approach lines N. of the main line as far as the engine shed and Scarborough Bridge and the lines between the Railway Station on the E. and Cinder Lane on the W. Burials also occur within the mediaeval walls, but none has been found in the low-lying land between the Cholera Burial Ground and the river.
In terms of Roman topography the cemetery occupied both sides of Road 8, beginning close to the N.W. side of Road 10, where it was later covered by the built-up area of the colonia. The best tombs lay along Road 8 and on the riverward slope to N. of it, overlooking the Ouse. They are represented by the coffins of the decurion Flavius Bellator, (see Inscriptions etc., No. 105), of Julia Fortunata, wife of the sevir Verecundius Diogenes (ibid., No. 106), and the large sepulchral candelabrum (ibid., No. 137). As for date, a beginning at least as early as the 2nd century is attested by the fact that pottery from this cemetery includes rustic ware, while its use well into the 4th century is certified not only by Crambeck ware and 4th-century cooking pots, but also by associated coins.
Both cremations and inhumations are recorded, if insufficiently for close dating of the two rites. A cooking pot from here, known to have contained a cremation, is, however, not earlier than the late 3rd century, and was associated with a motto beaker in Castor ware and a small glass bottle (p. 91a). On the other hand, an inhumation from the Old Station, within the later builtup area of the colonia, was associated with a coin of Hadrian. As at Trentholme Drive (q.v.), there must have been a considerable period of time when both rites were in use. Cremation was dying out by the end of the 3rd century, inhumation probably becoming common after the middle of the 2nd century. J. Raine (YPS Comms. (1876), 3–4) observed that part of the cemetery contained only cremations, terminating on a line so straight that it must have represented an original boundary, though no remains of a stone wall were apparent; the area in question ran 'N. for about a quarter of a mile from a point a little to the N. of Mr. Close's late house.' The site of this mansion (6 in. O.S. (1853), Sheet 174) is now occupied by the E. side of the parcels office, at the N. end of the present Queen Street Bridge. Raine, however, may not be using the cardinal point strictly, and in fact uses N. for N.W. in the same article and describes burials as between the E. side of the cremation cemetery and the river, when the river in fact lies to N.E. The area must have embraced the W. part of the present Railway Station and extended N.W. over much of the cutting for the old Scarborough Railway. Finds made during the excavation of the cutting included cremations of the middle and later 2nd century. J. Raine stated that this cremation cemetery was in use under Trajan and Hadrian, presumably basing this dating upon coins. Towards the river, outside the area devoted to cremations, both cremations and inhumations lay close together though not overcrowded, and this composed much the largest part of the cemetery, orientation and distribution of the graves suggesting to Raine (loc. cit., 5) that they had been laid out in walks or in family groups. The graves were sometimes marked by small blocks of sandstone above the surface at their head or foot or occasionally by small cairns or heaps of cobbles. The burials were usually orientated to face S. or E. at a depth of 5 ft. or 6 ft. below the 19th-century surface, which lay 1½ ft. to 2 ft. above the old Roman ground surface. Approximately fifty heavy stone sarcophagi were found in the railway excavations as a whole, many containing wood or lead coffins. There were also brickbuilt tombs, of which one had a barrel-vaulted roof, and tombs built of upright slabs of stone, and sometimes divided internally to take more than one body, or tombs comprising a protective roof of tilted tegulae balanced against one another. Lead coffins usually had an outer coffin of wood or stone. Simpler burials were often in wooden coffins, traceable by the nails; but sometimes the postures of the bodies rendered a coffin unlikely; occasionally a burial was bolt upright, and there are references to crouched burials.
In coffined burials gypsum was often poured over the body, sometimes preserving a cast of it. In two examples the whole head of hair was preserved. Fragments of cloth often survive adhering to the gypsum. With the body were buried articles of personal adornment, rings, ear-rings, hair pins, necklaces, armlets, anklets, brooches and dress fasteners. These usually bedecked the body, but were sometimes put in the grave separately, with or without a container. Phials of perfume, flagons or cups with drink, and pots containing food were added to the grave furniture. One woman was buried with her parasol, another with her fan. Occasionally the burial of a whole horse is recorded in apparent association with a human corpse, but a clear association is not attested and the horse skeletons may be intrusive. Cremations were usually contained in pottery jars, but lead containers are also found, sometimes protected by tile tombs. The very small stone coffins may have been ash-chests for cremations rather than for infant burials.
Raine considered that this cemetery was of lower social status than that on The Mount. But it included the tomb with the monumental candelabrum (see Inscriptions etc., No. 137), the coffin of a decurion (ibid., No. 105), that of a sevir's wife (ibid., No. 106) and probably also that of the sevir himself (ibid., No. 110). Yet in proportion to its area, this cemetery does not seem to have produced the same quantity of carved tombstones as yielded by The Mount. Again, 'on the outskirts' of the cemetery, Raine (loc. cit., 7) describes 'two putei or pits used for the burial of slaves or people of mean repute', contiguous and from 10 ft. to 12 ft. deep, 15 ft. to 20 ft. wide and 30 ft. long. Corpses had been thrown into them in large numbers without order or respect, the feet often higher than the head, and a thin layer of earth was thrown over each corpse until a certain distance from the surface was reached. The Roman date was attested by potsherds found amongst the bodies. The list of burials gives the impression that the cemetery contained a majority of child and female burials. If a complete record of all burials had been kept, it would probably have redressed the balance; indeed, one group of skulls (p. 84b), analysed by L. H. Dudley Buxton in 1935, gave a ratio of three males to one female (JRS, XXV (1935), 47–8). In fact, only those burials which were distinctive won a specific record, and women, more adorned in life than men, carried more trinkets with them to the grave. Children's burials were also easy to recognise and appealed to Victorian sentiment; again, parents may well have spent more upon a burial than heirs were likely to do, particularly if their children had survived beyond infancy.
The area here treated is that N.W. of Road 10, inside the City Wall and including the rampart mound (Fig. 62). It has already been noted that in the Old Station area the mound of the mediaeval wall contains remains of an earlier defensive wall. There are strong reasons for thinking that this was the Roman town wall (Monument 16a-c). Buildings come very close up behind it (Monuments 34d, e, g), while burials begin immediately outside it. One burial was found in position actually below the outer edge of the mediaeval mound, and other skeletons have formed part of the upcast from the moat. Burials have, however, also been found within the line of this wall, but the record is very defective. No clear topographical or stratigraphical relationship between buildings and burials was defined, and there is an additional possibility of confusion between Roman burials and those associated with the mediaeval Friary that occupied the site. Yet some of these burials are clearly Roman, and would seem to be orderly burials in a cemetery rather than stray illegal burials inside the town walls. A reasonable explanation is that an expanding town encroached on an existing cemetery. S.W. of the Old Station there is less evidence for both buildings and burials. The possibility that the Roman town defences may have turned S.E. within the line of the mediaeval wall has been noted (Monument 16d), and a brick tomb containing a burial in gypsum was apparently found between this line and the back of the mediaeval wall. References to skeletons unaccompanied by grave goods are omitted because of the likelihood of confusion with mediaeval burials; for example, twenty-seven such burials fairly close to Toft Green and well within the walls may represent the Friary cemetery.
(i) Inhumation, child, coated in gypsum, contained in a wooden inner coffin, and an outer lead coffin, 2¾ ft. by 11 ins. by 1 ft., now in the Yorkshire Museum. Found at the Old Station (C. Wellbeloved, Eburacum, 112; YMH, 114).
(ii) Inhumation, adult, in a lead coffin, 6 ft. 7 ins. long, made of a single sheet of lead, with sides bent up and over the corpse and the end rolled over the skull. Now in the Yorkshire Museum. Found not far from the 'Mulberry Tree', that is, in a general area containing Monuments 34 (a-c) (Hargrove YM, Feb. 1840; C. Wellbeloved, Eburacum, 112; YMH, 65).
(iv) Cremations, two, in urns, centrally placed 'in a cavity' with a silver pin beside them. One urn was pierced by a hole; one contained an indecipherable coin. The cavity presumably represented a wooden container. Found 'at the Western extremity of Backhouse's Gardens', that is, about 100 ft. S.W. of Monument 34 (d) (Hargrove YM, 3 March 1840).
(v) Inhumation, in a tomb built of tiles set on edge on a small floor made of broken tiles in lime mortar. Found under the tail of the mediaeval rampart, N.E. of the N. railway arch cut through the rampart (Hargrove YM, 23 March 1840).
(vi) Inhumation, with three or four bone pins and a coin of Hadrian, contiguous to the remains of a hypocaust. Found in 1846 near or actually under the tail of the mediaeval rampart in making a new railway platform, that is, not far N.E. of Monument 34 (e) (BAA Journ., III (1848), 55).
(vii) Inhumation, in a stone coffin containing a plain bronze finger-ring, which is now in Sheffield Museum (J. 93.651). Found close to the City Wall in making the old Station (E. Howarth, Catalogue of Bateman Antiquities (1899), 197).
(viii) Inhumation, in a brick tomb with flagged floor and walls 2 ft. high to the springing of a vaulted roof. The body, encased in gypsum, had been contained in a wooden coffin 5 ft. 10 ins. long. The skeleton had a bronze bracelet on each arm, and a silver ring on a finger. Near the thighs were two or three Roman coins, otherwise unspecified, probably once contained in a purse. Found very near the former House of Correction S.W. of the Old Station, within the mediaeval Wall at a depth suggesting that it was beneath the tail of the rampart, and in a sequence implying that it lay S.E. of the walling of Monument 16 (d) (Hargrove YM, 22 May 1840).
In levelling the rampart mound when making the more northerly arch for the railway to enter the Old Station in 1839, many skeletons of humans, horses and animals were found embodied in the rampart, having presumably been thrown up with the upcast from the moat. But there seem to have been burials in situ also, since the skeletons of a man and horse buried together were also found (Yorkshireman, 19 Jan. 1839; York Courant, 21 Feb. 1839). Two fragments of tombstones (see Inscriptions etc., Nos. 85, 129) were built into a buttress of the mediaeval wall near this archway, and it is possible that the very large blocks of gritstone incorporated in the angle of the mediaeval wall S. of the railway arches represent fragments of other tombs. The S. arch was constructed in 1845–6 and grave goods then found include a bronze lamp handle, a bone comb, pins, fibulae, and a bronze ring, now in Sheffield Museum (Nos. J. 93 series, 605, 640, 659, 662). An inhumation was found in situ at the base of the mediaeval mound in front of the wall in 1959, 50 ft. N.E. of the N. archway, when a cable tunnel was bored through the mound. A rubble feature was also found 8 ft. to 10 ft. in front of the skeleton, at a slightly lower level. (Information from R. Hill.)
The area includes the York and North Midland Railway (Fig. 62). This railway was extended in 1840 from a temporary terminus to the Old Station. This line of track is represented by the present tracks from just N. of the Railway Museum to the N. railway arch through the CityWall. (N.G. 59435144 to 59685161). Here the discoveries seem to have been made nearer the City Wall than the Railway Museum.
(i) Inhumation, in a stone coffin 6 ft. 10 ins. long and 4 ft. high with a lid of which the ridge was 2 ft. below the surface. With the skeleton was a Roman coin, otherwise unspecified, and three jet pins, one with cantharus head. Roman 'urns' and coins were also found near the coffin (Hargrove YM, 5 June 1840).
(ii) Inhumation, coated with gypsum and accompanied by a cremation, in a lead coffin. The cremation was in a lead container, which in decay had broken in two pieces lying by the head and one side of the skeleton respectively. There were also four glass flasks (Plate 67. Figs. 63, 90), placed mouth to mouth in two pairs, now H.G. 146. 1–4 in the Yorkshire Museum (YMH, 102, item b); see Glass, p. 140b. The lead coffin, which was destroyed, was 1 in. thick and weighed 542 pounds. The lead container, in fragmentary state, is now in the Yorkshire Museum (H. 1059): the remains comprise a cylindrical body 5 ins. high and 6 ins. in diameter and a narrow neck, the shoulders being missing (YMH, 146, item b). Near the coffin were found a number of 'urns' of various sizes and shapes, one containing the bones of a bird. (Hargrove YM, 7 July 1840; C. Roach Smith, Collectanea Antiqua, VII, 174–76.)
(iv) Tile tomb, built of six tegulae with IX Legion stamps tilted against one another, with imbrices on the ridge and a tegula at each end, is described by Hargrove (ibid.). This may be the same as that described in Hargrove's newspaper as in his collection and found, containing a cremation burial, a little earlier than 1843, but with eight tegulae, three on each side (York Courant, 20 July 1843).
Raine, however, specifies a tile tomb from the Hargrove collection, found at the time and place described in the MS. notes, but built with twelve tiles (YMH, 66). This (Plate 28) is set up in the Yorkshire Museum but has ten tegulae, four on each side and one at each end, all stamped LEG IX HISP. At least two separate tombs would thus appear to have been discovered and have been conflated into one, or else tiles have been added to or subtracted from a single original tomb both in the accounts and in the Museum.
(v) Inhumations, in two groups, each comprising several large stone coffins, are referred to by W. Hargrove in the Yorkshire Museum MS. on 28 July 1840 and at the 'close of August' 1840. The first group consisted of simple inhumations, the second group of gypsum-coated burials. Near the second group lay a lead coffin, 3 ft. long by 11 ins. wide, containing the gypsum-coated skeleton of a child, now in the Yorkshire Museum (YMH, 105); also another stone coffin, with a lid fixed by iron clamps still in position, which again contained a gypsum burial, and three inhumations in a common tomb, built of upright flagstones, with flagstone base and lid.
(vi) Inhumation, in a tile tomb, measuring externally 8½ ft. by 4½ ft., with walls of tile 11 ins. thick, finished off with an internal string-course and barrel vault of tiles 7 ins. square, set on edge. The structure was set in a sand-filled grave, with the extrados 6 ft. below the modern surface. The tomb held a female body, on whose head auburn hair in ringlets survived, contained in a gypsum-filled wooden coffin of which nails and fragments of wood remained (Hargrove YM, 31 Aug. 1840; YPS Comms. (1875), 7).
(vii) Inhumation, in which lay, near the skull, 'a number of large rings linked together so as to form a short chain. Some of them were delicately marked at the edge and thicker than the rest.' No coffin was observed (Hargrove YM, 'Close of September' 1840).
(viii) Inhumations, in communal graves lined with upright slabs and planned with 'divisions for each body', each skeleton coated with gypsum and so presumably once contained in a wooden coffin. Others in stone coffins were also found close by: one, with gypsum coating, on the same day, the rest, without gypsum, a few days later. (Hargrove YM, 2 Oct. 1840.)
(ix) Inhumation, in a stone coffin, with gypsum spread over the skeleton but not forming a case. In the coffin were nine round-headed jet pins, 1¾ ins. to 4¼ ins. long, a bracelet of twelve jet beads, a jet finger-ring with chip-carved bezel, a bone needle 6¾ ins. long, a curved ivory pin 8 ins. long, and a faceted jet bangle (Plate 70); see Jets, pp. 143a-4b All are now in the Yorkshire Museum (H. 106; YMH, 126). An 'urn' found outside the coffin contained the bones of a bird (Hargrove YM, 10 Oct. 1840).
(x) Inhumations, in stone coffins, gypsum-coated, were found in the spring of 1841 on the Newcastle and Berwick railway, just outside the City Wall, probably near the junction with the York and North Midland railway, and thus close to the burials already described. Wellbeloved considered that an earlier find of similar burials 'extra muros' in 1760 was from this area (C. Wellbeloved, Eburacum, 109).
This area includes a small part of Station Road, the Royal Station Hotel and its S.W. forecourt and part of the hotel garden (Fig. 62). The position of Road 8, discovered in 1874, has already been described (p. 3a). Immediately alongside it were many burials, beginning from the outer lip of the city moat. Many skeletons and 'urns' were noted and J. Raine refers also to the discovery of bracelets, a glass bottle and a fine fibula (Raine YPL, Sept. 1874, 8). From the N.E. side of the road came many stone cippi marking graves and also the inscribed tombstone of [Mon]obassaeus Julius (see Inscriptions etc., No. 83) and a sculptured capital (ibid., No. 134). Other finds, from the hotel garden, include the crude stone head (ibid., No. 118), fragments of an elaborate inscription and the carved bolster etc. from an altar-tomb (ibid., No. 131).
(i) Grave-group, the only identifiable one from this area in the Yorkshire Museum (H. 307), comprises two bronze bracelets for a child, one with hook and eye fastening, the other with overlapping ends, together with a coin of Constantine (YMH, 135).
(iii) Coffins, four, were found in 1877 in the Royal Station Hotel grounds, immediately in front of the hotel. These and (iv) were evenly spaced and parallel, on a line approximately S.W. to N.E., except for the middle coffin, which lay N.E. of the others. One had its lid sealed with a red cement and contained a good gypsum cast now in the Yorkshire Museum (YMH, 117; Raine YPL, Oct., Dec. 1877, 15). The remaining three contained gypsum burials but one was lidless and had been opened before.
(iv) Coffin, of stone, was found 20 yds. to 30 yds. N.E. from the Roman road, in 1874, at the corner of the cemetery next to Mr. Close's house (Raine YPL, 28 Nov. 1874, opp. 9, 15). This cemetery was the Cholera Burial Ground, now reduced in size, and the description would put the place of the discovery under Station Road, opposite the entrance to the Royal Station Hotel grounds. The coffin, sealed with red cement, was filled with gypsum affording a good impression of a female body, resting upon a raised strip at the edge, which Raine interpreted as the bier on which it had rested. The grave goods, H. 103 in the Yorkshire Museum (YMH, 127, item n), consist of two simple jet anklets, 2¾ ins. and 3 ins. in diameter, from below each foot of the corpse. On the right wrist were a faceted jet bangle and a bone armlet fashioned out of separate pieces of bone joined with ribbed silver sheaths riveted where the bone was thick enough; originally it was probably spiral, or there are fragments of more than one bracelet. A small green glass flask, H. 103.1 (Fig. 89) stood above the head at the top of the coffin; see Glass, p. 141a. The ivory parasol-ribs (Arch. Journ., CIII (1946), 79), also in the Yorkshire Museum, which have traces of silver sheaths at their base, may have come from this coffin, though Raine lists them separately (YMH, 129, item j, but see YMH (1875), 142, item d). S.E. of this coffin a child's skeleton was found coated in gypsum without trace of a coffin.
(v) Coffin, of lead, found near the hotel entrance (Raine YPL, 1881, 24), a large cinerary urn covered with a stone (YMH, 119), and a glass unguent bottle (H.G. 231. Fig. 89), see Glass, p. 137a, were other finds from the hotel garden.
(vi) Coffins, two, of stone, were found in 1874 below the W. edge of the hotel, adjacent to the Station. They were large and lay side by side touching one another and orientated E.-W. Outside the N. coffin a skeleton lay with its head against the foot of the coffin, and below the bones was a wooden box containing six glass vessels, a silver ring and several ornaments (Raine YPL, 25 April 1874, 1). The Yorkshire Museum possesses the bronze bosses, angle-pieces, fastenings and lock from the box, and from the contents a bronze mirror-handle, two bronze rings of 1½ ins. and 15/8 ins. diameter, and three bronze dress fasteners, two plain and one enamelled; also two plate brooches in bronze, one with a lozenge-shaped face with incised feather pattern, the other designed as a flower (H. 325; YMH, 104). The N. coffin itself contained a female skeleton, with a jet hair pin under the skull and a fragmentary coin in the mouth. A platter of red ware stood on the coffin. The S. coffin contained the remains of two young girls, and at its head were two pottery dishes and two glass drinking vessels, one of which is probably H.G. 127 in the Yorkshire Museum (Plate 66); see Glass, p. 140b. (Raine YPL, 25 April 1874, 1; YMH, 25, 104, 147.) To the S. of the coffins was a simple inhumation lying E.-W. with a small pot by the head and a dog's skeleton (Raine YPL, 22 April 1874, 2).
(vii) Coffin, of stone, lay to W. of the previous pair, partly under the railway platform 4 and partly under the railway tracks; it was orientated N.-S. and contained a gypsum burial (Raine YPL, 22 April 1874, 2).
(ix) Coffins, a pair, lay still further E., side by side and orientated N.W.-S.E.; the south-westernmost contained a female coated with enough gypsum to preserve a cast of the legs. Now in the Yorkshire Museum are a jet distaff (H. 314.1. Plate 69) and two jet hair-pins that lay below the skull (YMH, 126, k i); see Jets, p. 143b. The second coffin also contained a female, with bone hairpins and with two ivory handles at her feet from a folding fan (Plate 71), now in the Yorkshire Museum (H. 304. YMH, 128, item e; Arch. Journ., CIII (1946), figs. 12, 14).
This area is now the Railway Station Booking hall, Concourse and Parcels Office (Fig. 62); it was the site of 'Mr. Close's old house'. This last, used by J. Raine as a landmark, is marked on the 1853 O.S. map N. of the railway lines immediately outside the City Walls. The house was demolished in 1875, and the E. edge of the Parcels Office and the area to the E. now cover the site, while its garden extended W. to the centre of the station and S. almost to the S. end of the station. In relation to Roman remains the whole area extends S.W. from Road 8 to the burials uncovered in making the York and North Midland Railway in 1840. The burials are described, in so far as our knowledge permits, from N.E. to S.W., beginning with those nearest to Road 8.
(i) Inhumation, found in May 1875, on the site of the present Station Booking Office, some 30 yds. to 40 yds. S.W. of Road 8. It was contained in a stone coffin, the top of which lay 4 ft. below the ground-surface of 1875 and probably 2 ft. to 2½ ft. below the Roman ground-level. The coffin, orientated N.-S., with its head facing S., was lined with sheet lead, tight against the sides. To the lead lining was cemented a lead lid, decorated with a cord pattern (Fig. 64). The interior was filled with gypsum to within 2 ins. or 3 ins. of the lid, encasing the remains of an adolescent girl whose auburn hair, fastened in a bun by two jet pins, is preserved in the Yorkshire Museum (YPS Comms. (1875), 5; YMH, 65, 138).
(iv) Inhumation, of a child, in a small coffin originally furnished with a wooden lid, associated with a bronze chain, beads and bracelets, probably originally packed in a box (Raine YPL, 12 Aug. 1875; YMH, 135).
(v) Inhumation, of an aged person in a wooden coffin, without gypsum. It lay inside a rectangular tomb, 7 ft. 4 ins. long by 1½ ft. high by 3 ft. 1 in. wide, with tile walls and flat tile roof, now rebuilt in the Yorkshire Museum (Plate 28) (Raine YPL, 16 Aug. 1875, 12; YMH, 66; YPS Comms. (1875), 8).
(vi) Inhumation, a few yards from the last, consisting of a child bedecked with three jet bangles, respectively 1.7 ins., 2.1 ins., and 2 ins. in diameter, now in the Yorkshire Museum (H. 318) (Raine YPL, Aug. 1875, 12).
(vii) Inhumation, comprising a child's skeleton furnished with four jet bangles and part of a bead necklace, found at 'the omnibus stand', that is, outside the main entrance to the present Station (Raine YPL, Oct. 1876, 14; YMH, 127, item l ii).
(viii) Inhumations, two, a child's body in gypsum in a stone coffin, lying above, and so later than, another gypsum burial. Found with other inhumations between the Booking Office and Lamp Office (Raine YPL, 2 Dec. 1876, 14). See also p. 108a.
(x) Inhumations and a cremation, found slightly N.W. of Mr. Close's house, included several skeletons, at the head of one of which was the heap of stones containing the larger fragment of the inscribed altar DEO GENIO LOCI (see Inscriptions etc., No. 34). Another skeleton was in a leadlined wooden coffin, with a glass vessel 14 ins. long by its hand, a black pot at its foot and a small bronze box adjacent; for the glass, H.G. 7 in the Yorkshire Museum (YMH, 103, item c), see Glass, p. 140a. The skull of a third lay close to an inscribed lead container (Plate 32) found in 1875 (see Inscriptions etc., No. 145), which held burnt bones (Raine YPL, 26 Feb., 8 March 1875, 10; YPS Comms. (1875), 1).
(xi) Inhumations, five, in lead coffins; the places of discovery of two were pointed out to Raine in 1875 (Raine YPL, 2 March 1875, 10), while three were disturbed in 1875–6 in cutting foundations (ibid., 12 April 1875, 11; 23 Jan. 1876, 13). Of these last the most notable was a skeleton, lying on its right side, contained in an iron-bound wooden coffin lined with separate sheets of lead, now reconstructed in the Yorkshire Museum (YMH, 65, No. 69; C. R. Smith, Collectanea Antiqua, VII, 179). The other two contained respectively a child and an adolescent, the latter in gypsum. See also p. 108a.
(xii) Inhumations, three, found 'under Mr. Close's Terrace', which ran from N. to S. immediately W. of the house and continued N. beyond it (60 ins. O.S. (1853), Sheet 11). The first was a stone coffin containing a female with a little gypsum under the legs and six pins at her feet. The pins, now in the Yorkshire Museum (H. 104), are from 1½ ins. to 4 ins. long, the first broken and re-sharpened (YMH, 127). Two are of bone and four of jet; the former with round heads; two of the latter with faceted heads, one faceted and perforated, and one a cantharus; see Jets, p. 143 b. The second inhumation, lying immediately above the first and covered by a stone slab, was a wooden coffin containing a child with an indented beaker at its head. The third was the skeleton of an adolescent lying to right of the stone coffin (Raine YPL, 3 May 1876, 13). Grave goods also observed included two jet bracelets, a bronze bracelet, and coin of Gratian (ibid., 8 May 1876, 14).
(xiii) Inhumation, found in 1848 immediately S. of the S. boundary of Mr. Close's garden (60 ins. O.S. (1853), Sheet 11). The position is now the S.E. side of the present Railway Station, immediately opposite the northern railway-arch through the City Wall (N.G. 59585159). The burial lay in a stone tomb, built of large roughly hewn gritstone slabs standing upright on a few flagstones. Two slabs were used for each side, one for each end and four for the roof, making a tomb 8 ft. 2 ins. long, 2 ft. 8 ins. high and 4 ft. 4 ins. wide, now reconstructed in the Yorkshire Museum. This chamber contained a wooden coffin, itself containing a body coated with gypsum, which also preserved fragments of cloth (YPS Procs., I (1847–54), 97; YMH, 13, 114). See also p. 108b.
This is the area of the present Railway Station (Fig. 62). It yielded the tombstone of Hyllus (see Inscriptions etc., No. 79), which was found, fallen on its face, under the N. wall of the Station in 1875 (Raine YPL, Feb. 1875, 10).
(i) A cremation cemetery (see p. 79a) is described in vague and general terms by J. Raine as underlying the S. and W. part of the Station. This cemetery had also been disturbed in 1840, when in making the railway to the riverside coal depot numerous urns were found (Hargrove YM, April 1840).
(ii) Inhumation, a stone coffin, 8 ft. long by 3 ft. high, contained the body of a female encased in gypsum, which preserved fragments of cloth. Found in 'one of the docks of the new railway station' in 1877, and now in the Yorkshire Museum (YMH, 64; YPSR (1877), 9; Raine YPL, June 1877, 15). See also p. 108b.
(iii) Inhumation, a female skeleton, bedecked on the right arm with two bronze bracelets decorated in spiral ribbing, on the left with two plain bronze bracelets, and at the neck with a small, rather worn, jet pendant carved with a head in relief (Plate 68) and three cylindrical jet beads; see Jets, pp. 142a, 143a. These objects are now in the Yorkshire Museum (H. 320). Found on the N. side of the Station in 1890 (YMH, 133–4).
(v) Inhumations: in 1870 a drain was laid from the old locomotive yards to the river, across the site of the Station and areas to N. and S. of it. J. Raine records three stone coffins as then found (Raine YPL, 1872–3, 4). Other finds also occurred (Yorkshire Gazette, 9 July 1870). Skulls were sent to Oxford and were later described by L. H. Dudley Buxton (JRS, XXV (1935), 47–48), though attributed to The Mount cemetery owing to a temporary loss of the manuscript notes accompanying the collection (fn. 3). There are also recorded skeletal remains, comprising femora and parts of the pelvis of a woman, a male skull, and imperfect femur, all stained; nearby the fibula and humerus of a male, unstained, from peat underlying sand; a female skull, aged and diseased; bones of a twenty year old male, in diseased condition, the skull and first cervical vertebra so anchylosed that he could never have looked behind him; fragments of three skulls representing an old woman, a strong adult man with dental disease and a young man. All these remains lay 9 ft. deep in sand, where other Roman relics, including pottery and a quern, were found. This depth suggests that they might come from one of the common burial pits for the lower-class population of Roman York, described by Raine as occurring on the fringe of the cemetery (see p. 79b).
(vi) Inhumation, found in 1874 'across the depot lines close to the old slate place'. This site, described from the point of view of Mr. Close's house, is not precisely identifiable. The remains comprised a female skeleton, associated with a wooden trinket box bound in bronze, with bronze lock, bronze leaf-shaped mountings, and bronze studs (Fig. 65). The box contained a large jet bangle, and three finer jet bangles with spiral ribbing, a small phial of green glass (Fig. 88) and another glass vessel designed as a hollow ring (Fig. 88), but with the mouth missing (Yorkshire Museum, H. 324. Raine YPL, 9; YMH, 104, item m); see Glass, p. 140a, and Jets, p. 144a.
This triangular area in 1872 formed part of the fields N. of Thief Lane, running down to the river between the York and Scarborough railway and the line to the riverside coal depot. It was developed in 1872–3, the principal operation being the excavation of a deep cutting to take Leeman Road under the new railway line. The following summary is mainly based upon Raine's notes. These make clear that at this time excavation did not extend S.W. of Thief Lane, since Raine refers only to the likelihood that more burials lay underground 'W. of the road and up the field'. In the excavated area he refers generally to pottery and skeletons scattered everywhere, but comments only upon the more remarkable features of the burials.
(i) Inhumation, found 'at the top of the field under the hedge beside the road', that is, beside Thief Lane. The lead coffin, 6 ft. 4 ins. long, was originally enclosed in a wooden coffin, hooped in iron. It is now in the Yorkshire Museum (Raine YPL, 6; YMH, 65).
(ii) Inhumations, found in the upper corner of the field adjoining the depot lines, that is, under Platforms 4, 5, 6, or 7 of the present Railway Station. There were very many skeletons, close under the surface, at one place almost in a heap and perhaps disturbed previously when the lines were made (Raine YPL, 7).
(iii) Tomb, made of tegulae, with stamps of the VIth Legion, leant against one another; found in the middle of the area. The tiles, though broken, protected a large number of 'coarse' glass vessels; many were in fragments, but two whole ones went to the Yorkshire Museum, where only H.G. 32 is now identifiable (Fig. 89), and two or three others went elsewhere (Raine YPL, 6; YMH, 102, item c); see Glass, p. 137a.
(iv) Coffins, four, of stone, near to one another but so differently orientated as not to be considered a group. The first is now exhibited in the entrance of St. Leonard's Hospital in Museum Gardens (see Inscriptions etc., No. 111). When found, the inscription D.M. on the lid and the blank panel on the side faced opposite ways, and the coffin contained a skeleton without gypsum or grave goods. Near it lay another skeleton, uncoffined. The second, smaller in size, contained a woman's skeleton, with a glass bottle (Fig. 89), broken at the neck, close to the face; the glass is H.G. 182 in the Yorkshire Museum (YMH, 102, item d), see Glass, p. 141a. The third also contained a woman's skeleton, but without grave goods. The fourth coffin, found close to the third, but opened a year later than the others, on 6 Oct. 1874, was a narrow coffin, containing the remains of a female coated with gypsum and associated with a jet pin. Close to the left side of this coffin lay a skeleton buried with a dog and, not far away, another skeleton accompanied by remains of a box, jet rings and pins (Raine YPL, 6).
(v) Inhumations, buried 3 ft. to 4 ft. deep, were found in making the cutting for Leeman Road. Raine noted two in particular. The first was buried below a great mass of puddled clay, presumably the foundation or core of a monument, together with a horse and a dog, a small Samian cup and two other pottery vessels. The second was the remains of a child, in a lead coffin now in the Yorkshire Museum. (Raine YPL, 4; YMH, 111.)
(vi) Inhumations, close by the York-Scarborough railway near Thief Lane, were found in 1867–8. They overlay one another, and those at the bottom in crouched position were believed at the time to be British. There was also recorded the skeleton of a young man, with a key on his chest, laid on gypsum in a lead coffin, outside the head of which stood a jar. The palette with graffito CANDIDVS (Inscriptions etc., No. 146) also came from this site. (Raine YPL, 7; YPSR (1867), 19; YMH, 132, 140.)
(vii) Graves etc. found at the N. corner of the area, near Scarborough Bridge, were marked on the Roman ground surface by 'roughly scabbled' stones of which some still stood upright, with their heads just below the surface of 1873 (Raine YPL, 6). With them were found building debris (Monument 48) and a fragment of a stone sepulchral lion (see Inscriptions etc., No. 123(a)).
(viii) Coffins, several, of stone, were found near Scarborough Bridge on the S.W. bank of a drain that ran parallel with the river at a distance of 110 ft. to the S.W. (6 ins. O.S. (1853), Sheet 174; 60 ins., Sheet 8). One contained a skeleton, with a little gypsum and some iron objects at the feet; in another were two silvered fibulae; four broken bracelets accompanied a third. A tumbler-shaped glass vessel, too vaguely described for identification in the Yorkshire Museum collection, was found at the side of one coffin. The coffins lay much in line as if related to a riverside walk or boundary (Raine YPL, 5).
(ix) Coffin, of Flavius Bellator (see Inscriptions etc., No. 105), found between the tracks of the old Scarborough line, also lay in line with the previous coffins. It contained a skeleton wearing on its finger a gold ring, set with a ruby. But the small and delicate skull, with narrow jaw and weak forehead, exhibited in the Yorkshire Museum as from this coffin, is that of an adolescent whose canine teeth had not yet erupted. If the association of coffin and skull is correct, the coffin must have been reused for a second burial, since Flavius Bellator died at twenty-nine.
(xiv) Grave-group, now in the Yorkshire Museum (H. 313), comprising three small, orange-red, colour-coated beakers with cornice-moulded rims, probably of the mid 3rd-century, from near Scarborough Bridge (Raine YPL, 5).
This area, of the Engine Sheds and the Main Line approaching the Railway Station from the N., lies W. of Scarborough Bridge, between the river and Leeman Road, and was previously the Cricket Ground (Fig. 62). The inscribed and sculptured stones from here include the tombstone of Aelia Aeliana (see Inscriptions etc., No. 71), the phallic-shaped tomb finial (ibid., No. 133 (g)), another sculpture described as a 'carved capital' and probably the monumental candelabrum (ibid., No. 137), also a pine-cone finial (ibid., No. 133), and the coffins described below.
(i) Coffin, of stone, of Julia Fortunata (ibid., No. 106), found 20 yds. N.W. of that of Flavius Bellator (ibid., No. 105), contained the bones of a tall masculine figure. The skull, in the Yorkshire Museum, is that of an adult of 35 to 40, with pronounced aquiline nose and a broad, prominent masculine forehead. The teeth are slightly worn. The second left bicuspid in the upper jaw has been broken, apparently before death, while the second right bicuspid in the lower jaw was certainly lost some time before death. The skull is in many respects more like that of a man than a woman, and the possibility that the coffin was reused for a second burial is not to be excluded.
(ii) Coffin, of stone, of Verecundius Diogenes (ibid., No. 110), found in February 1579, a quarter of a mile W. of York walls, presumably originally accompanied that of Julia Fortunata, his wife (ibid., No. 106).
(iii) Inhumations, associated with a stone coffin, pottery and glass, were found in December 1874 and February 1875, immediately N.W. of the Scarborough line, near the bridge. The stone coffin, finely cut, with a label but no inscription, contained only soil and a few bones. At its foot was a skeleton buried bolt upright. Many jars were found, also a bronze lamp, and 'a glass vessel of great beauty' (Raine YPL, 9; YMH, 11, 102); but the last, illustrated by W. Thorpe (English Glass, 41, pl. Vc), is now thought to be of the 17th century, see Glass, p. 140 n.
(iv) Inhumations, in seven stone coffins, were found in 1872 near the tombstone of Aelia Aeliana. The discovery of five coffins is described in a contemporary newspaper (Yorkshire Gazette, 2 Nov. 1872) which relates that four were of full size and the fifth for a child, being discovered at a depth of 5 ft., while the tombstone of Aelia Aeliana lay 2 ft. to 3 ft. deep (YMH, 56; YPSR (1872), 24).
(i) Tomb, of tiles, was found in 1768, on ground adjoining the footpath from York to Holgate (the predecessor of Cinder Lane), about 250 yards from the City Wall on the line between York and Severus Hills (N.G. 59475167). It lay 2 ft. deep, and was made with eight tegulae, three on each side and one at each end, all stamped LEG IX HIS, while the ridge was covered with imbrices. The tomb contained human skeletal remains, including a thigh bone and a broken lower jaw, said to have been burnt but perhaps in fact blackened with decay. With them were a narrow-mouthed jar in blue-grey fabric, containing ashes and covered with a 'bit of slate', another similar but smaller jar and a single-handled flagon in red ware. A silver ring and a coin of Domitian, recorded at the same time, were not necessarily from the tomb. (History and Antiquities of the City of York, printed by Ann Ward (1785), I, 88–90; Archaeologia II (1773), 177.)
(ii) Inhumations, found in 1845, in the cutting of the early York and Scarborough Railway through the ridge later removed in making the present Railway Station. Three were in lead coffins, of which two are now in Sheffield Museum, one (J. 93. 1070; Catalogue of Bateman Antiquities, 213) containing remains of a female, the other, a child's coffin, with a small green glass phial (J. 93. IIII; ibid., 217). A fourth inhumation was in a tile tomb, from which twenty tegulae, stamped LEG VI VIC PF, and one imbrex, used as a head rest for the body, are in Sheffield Museum (J. 93. 1065; ibid., 212).
(iii) A cremation cemetery, noted by J. Raine (p. 79a above), had been cut previously in 1845 by the York and Scarborough Railway, and pottery then recovered, including jars containing cremated bones, is in Sheffield Museum. The pottery is mainly of the 2nd century, but includes colour-coated ware of the later 3rd century. Three Castor beakers (J. 93.1018–20. Fig. 66), found together, of buff fabric with red-brown colourcoating and cornice rims, are of the mid 3rd century, and compare with the group found near Scarborough Bridge (see (f), xiv, above). In addition may be noted in the Sheffield Museum (Fig. 66)
J. 93.989, cooking pot in fumed buff ware, containing a small glass bead, late 2nd-century, found with 996 and 998 below; J. 93.990, cooking pot with rim flattened on top, in dark grey ware, with a rubbed lattice, late 2nd to 3rd-century;
(iv) Cremations were again found in October, 1874, on the strip of land between the old Scarborough railway line and the new depots at a point halfway along the strip. J. Raine specifies six separate grave groups; three of these each comprised a small urn contained in a larger jar, while a Samian platter, a 'brown patera' and a plain jar respectively accompanied the other three vessels containing ashes. One group, now in the Yorkshire Museum (H. 25–31), includes a plain grey jar, a grey beaker, two enamelled plate brooches in the form of ducks (Plate 34), a bronze chain of twisted wire skeins alternating with links, and a coin of Trajan. The pottery (Fig. 66) is of the later 2nd century. (Raine YPL, 9; YMH, 147.)
(v) Inhumations were also found near the above cremations in 1874. One body lay in a tile tomb; the other, apparently uncoffined, was accompanied by a pottery candlestick (Raine YPL, 9). The tile tomb appears to be that now reconstructed in the Yorkshire Museum, which is 5 ft. 8 ins. long, with an upward extension giving extra head-room at one end (YMH 67, no. 73), for its recorded date of discovery is the same, and it was near the cremation group of two plain jars of (iv) above. The numbers of tiles are, however, discrepant.
The graves and grave groups described above represent burials for which a topographical reference is available. The Yorkshire Museum contains, however, a still larger body of objects, often wholly without any context, except a general association with the Railway works. Most may be regarded as sepulchral. They comprise a large number of personal adornments (Plates 34, 69, 71) such as pins and bracelets of bone and jet (e.g. H. 105), rings, necklaces, brooches (e.g. H. 139 a, b, c; H. 2426) and pendants, and also much pottery and glass. These finds are not listed here individually, although two groups are selected for description; some are illustrated, and the entry concludes with a selective list of pottery; for the glass and jet, see pp. 136–44. See also Inscriptions etc., No. 149.
The first Group (H. 13–19) comprises a colourless glass bottle (Fig. 89) with overhanging rim, see Glass, p. 140b; a bronze bracelet, 2½ ins. in diameter, with spiral ribbing and hook and eye fastener; four segments of a bone bracelet, one retaining part of a silver sheath at the join; a bronze strip; a small bone plaque with incised circles; a coin of Crispus (A.D. 317–26) (YMH, 133, item b).
The second Group (H. 34) (Plates 30, 35, 67. Figs. 67, 88) consists of (a) a dark grey fumed pot, with lattice decoration on a roughened band, of the late 3rd or early 4th century and containing cremated bones; (b) a small Castor ware beaker, colour-coated in black, with the motto DA MI(HI) 'Give it me' in white slip, a piece also datable to the late 3rd or early 4th century; (c) a hexagonal glass flask with single handle; see Glass, p. 137a. This group, found during the railway excavations, in 1874, is interesting as evidence for the late continuance of cremation (YMH, 148, item n).
The Pottery from the Station Cemetery here illustrated (Figs. 67–9) and described is selected because it is either typical or in some way extraordinary; the inclusive number of vessels of similar or allied type preserved in the Museum, is given at the end of the entries
H. 154, beaker of Rhenish ware (Plate 35), of similar form to H. 181 but larger, broken and incomplete, has a lustrous brown glaze, white slip ornament and the painted inscription VIVATIS (see Inscriptions etc., No. 151(f));
The Mount Cemetery etc. (see also p. 76): The following burials are in the areas of Micklegate, Blossom Street, The Mount and Dringhouses (Fig. 70). Alongside Road 10 many burials and groups of grave goods have been discovered. They begin within the mediaeval walls, fanning out to the W. between Roads 9 and 10 S.W. of the junction of the same and reaching their thickest concentration on the summit of The Mount, where numerous fragments of sculptured monuments have been found. Road 11 may have been built to give access to the burials. Beyond Trentholme Drive they become sparser, but a small cemetery has been found at Dringhouses.
The area here treated is that within the mediaeval walls S.E. of Toft Green. Although burials might be expected alongside the main S.W. road before the growth of the town, evidence is very slight. Vague references to burials in the Micklegate area (Yorkshire Gazette, 24 Nov. 1821, 21 July 1883; Yorkshire Herald, 10 July 1922) do not serve to identify them as positively Roman.
(i) Tombstones, four, come from the area (see Inscriptions etc., Nos. 75, 76, 97, 102), and a fragment of gritstone coffin is built into the mediaeval Micklegate Bar; but these may have been brought from outside the area for use as buildingmaterial in the structures where they were found. Only the tombstone of Duccius, standard-bearer of the IXth Legion (ibid., No. 75), found near Holy Trinity Church, is clearly early in date, before c. A.D. 120.
(ii) Pottery, found in the 19th century in Priory Street, was in some cases described as sepulchral, though there is no specific record of association with cremation or skeleton. But the pieces include some complete vessels, a face vase and a feeding bottle and date from the 2nd and 3rd centuries; and, if these are grave goods, it would seem that to S.E. of Micklegate the built-up area of the colonia did not reach the line later occupied by the mediaeval city walls, even so late as the 3rd century. The pottery is in the Yorkshire Museum and the following are illustrated in this Inventory (Fig. 71):—
(i) Tombstones, three, were found, two at the Bar Convent, between Nunnery Lane and South Parade, and one and a sepulchral plaque alongside the street near Micklegate Bar (see Inscriptions etc., Nos. 74, 89, 100, 125), but none was in situ.
(ii) Cremation, the single one so proved, was found in 1953, behind the Grill Café on the N.W. side of Blossom Street, about 150 yds. outside Micklegate Bar; it lay alongside Road 10 on the S.E. at the junction with Road 9 and was in a rusticated jar of the 1st century (YA and YAS Procs. (1953–4), 12).
(iii) Inhumations, recorded as found in 1846, 'several... in a field contiguous to the Convent in Nunnery Lane', were 2 ft. deep and included that of a female with a child beside her (Yorks. Gazette, 4 April 1846). The field is now part of the gardens of the Bar Convent.
(iv) Skeletons, found when the back or S.E. wing of the Bar Convent, bordering Nunnery Lane, was built in 1880; here also were found the carved stones including three inscribed altars and, 2 ft. to 3 ft. lower down, the statue of Mars (see Inscriptions etc., Nos. 30, 38, 39, 59) (YPSR (1880), 48).
(vi) Coffin, of stone, found in 1852 on the site now occupied by the Odeon Cinema, contained a skeleton with segmented jet bracelet (Plate 70) now in the Yorkshire Museum (H. 108); see Jets, p. 143 a. (YMH, 126; J. B. Davis and J. Thurnam, Crania Britannica, II (1865), 1–5, 268–9, pl. 19.)
(viii) Inhumation, without grave goods, and many sherds were disclosed in 1955 in trenches dug 100 ft. N. of Holgate Villa. Beneath the skeleton were two sherds of Castor ware (YAJ, XL, pt. 158 (1960), 327).
(ix) Skeletons, two, were found in 1959 about 170 ft. N. of the junction of Lowther Terrace and Holgate Road and some 3 ft. from the N. wall of Holgate Villa. One was associated with a pot, but the find was not adequately recorded (ibid., 315).
(xi) Coffin, of gritstone, found near (x), orientated roughly N.W.-S.E., at a depth of 4½ ft. below the modern and 2½ ft. below the Roman surfaces. It contained the skeleton of a man about thirty years old, disturbed in antiquity. The burial was of the early 4th century and had cut through an earlier inhumation (ibid., 317).
(xii) Pottery from the Blossom Street area, in particular the Crescent and the Odeon Cinema site to the N.W. and South Parade and East Mount Road to the S.E., which included the complete face vases from the corner of Holgate Road and Blossom Street and (Accn. 1267. Plate 29) from the Odeon site, probably come from a cemetery, despite the lack of definite record. The following should probably be added, despite lack of recorded skeletal remains: an urn containing a hen's egg, found under a later structure in 1826 on the N. side of the junction of Queen Street and Blossom Street (W. Hargrove, New Guide ... York (1838), 37), and a similar find near Micklegate Bar in 1881 (YMH, 139). Eggs placed in urns as appropriate food for the dead are recorded from Trentholme Drive cemetery (see p. 106a, b). Finally, a 2nd-century grey cooking pot with lattice decoration (H. 2334), in the Yorkshire Museum (Fig. 71), is described on a label inside it as a cinerary urn and originally had a cover.
The greatest number of burials and the finest sculptures come from the summit of the hill (Fig. 70). The stones include, from S.E. of Road 10, a fragment of inscribed tombstone (see Inscriptions etc., No. 93), from Scarcroft Road; the tombstone of Corellia Optata (ibid., 73), the stone table-leg found with the altar to Silvanus (ibid., 138, 32), and an altar (ibid., 41) all from Nos. 105–7 The Mount (burials are not recorded with the three last); also the two tombstones of Julia Velva and of Mantia respectively (ibid., 82, 84) from Albemarle Road, 50 yds. from The Mount.
Tombs also lined the Roman road at the foot and on the slopes of the hill. Thus, the mourning Atys tombrelief (see Inscriptions etc., No. 124) came from No. 75 The Mount, on the corner of Park Street, the tombstone of Julia Brica (ibid., 80) and the fragment of another (ibid., 92) from The Mount Hotel. The head of a funerary statue is built into the eaves of No. 86, The Mount (ibid., 114), and the fragment of a coffin, with amorino supporter (ibid., 112), found 'near The Mount' probably comes from this area also.
(i) Burial vault (Fig. 72) under No. 104 The Mount (N.G. 59465117), discovered in 1807 in building the house. The entrance is normally bricked up, but access was possible in 1955. This rectangular vaulted tomb-chamber has its major axis from N.W. to S.E., at right angles to Road 10. Modern ground-level is 3 ft. above the crown of the vault and most of the chamber was probably always underground. Internal dimensions are 8 ft. 2 ins. by 5 ft. 2 ins., the maximum height 6¼ ft., and the vault springs at a height of 4 ft. The walls, 1½ ft. thick, are of roughly coursed oolitic limestone, both dressed and rubble, plastered internally. The vault is turned in tiles set in a 3-inch layer of hard mortar which also covers the extrados. The mortar extruded on the intrados bears the impress of a shuttering of overlapping planks, which were left in position after the vault was finished; and, since the plastering on the end wall returns in one or two places, it is probable that the entire underside of the planks was plastered over. The original entrance, now much enlarged, was 3¼ ft. high and 2½ ft. wide with threshold 2 ft. above the floor of the chamber and made, like the lintel, from a single limestone slab; after the burial it was walled up and the blocking was still in position when the vault was found. The height of the threshold was probably related to the top of the open coffin, which lay 4 ins. below it, in a convenient position for passing the body into its restingplace. The coffin, measuring 7 ft. 2 ins. by 3 ft. by 1¾ ft. high, occupies most of the chamber, and, being too large to pass through the manhole, must have been placed in position before the chamber was finished. It is of gritstone and an unusual feature is a step inside to serve as a pillow; the lid is a single flagstone, 2 ins. thick, as long as the coffin but 3 ins. narrower. The skeleton within, now much disturbed, is that of an adult; at its head were two glass phials, one found broken, the other complete and now (H. 43) in the Yorkshire Museum (Archaeologia, XVI (1812), 340, pl. xlvii; York Chronicle, 20 Aug. 1807; G. Benson, York I, 19, fig. 11).
(iii) Cremation, found near (i) in 1841, in a two-handled narrow-mouthed jar (Fig. 73) of slate-coloured fabric with frilled cordons on the neck and shoulder, now (H. 2329) in the Yorkshire Museum (YMH, 100; C. Wellbeloved, Eburacum (1842), 122).
(iv) Cremations (?), jars that may have contained such were found at the time the tombstones under The Mount Hotel were discovered (see above and letter, 7 Sept. 1895, John Smith's Brewery to Professor Haverfield, now in the Haverfield collection, Ashmolean Museum Library, Oxford).
(vii) Cremations, found in 1861 with the tombstone of Corellia Optata (see above and Inscriptions etc., No. 73), in various containers (YPSR (1861) 30–31), the most important being the cylindrical green glass bottle (Plate 66), H.G. 53, in the Yorkshire Museum, which contained calcined bones and was originally sealed with lead (YMH, 58, 120); see Glass, p. 136b. Nine other vessels were given to the Yorkshire Museum (ibid.), but only two (Fig. 73) are now identifiable, namely H. 2328, a grey beaker or narrow-mouthed jar, and H. 142, a grey jar covered with graffiti referring to former contents and therefore second-hand (see Inscriptions etc., No. 152).
(viii) A large inhumation cemetery was disturbed during the short siege of York in 1644, when a fort was built on the summit of The Mount. The removal of the fort during the 18th century, in levelling and widening the road, revealed that many skeletons had been thrown up into its ramparts (York Courant, 29 June 1742), though the estimate of 12,000 to 13,000 made in 1742 seems excessive. Finds, now lost, included an urn containing a cremation, a fragmentary tombstone inscribed PI]ENTISSIM ..., a coin of Nerva (A.D. 96–8), two lamps and a fibula (YA and YAS Procs. (1952–3), 18).
(ix) Coffin, of stone, empty, in the garden of Pinehurst, No. 121 The Mount, presumably came from this estate, where a group of nearly forty skeletons and some Roman coins were found in 1834. One infant skeleton was 'folded in lead', and near it was a broken urn (York Herald, 15 Feb. 1834; W. Hargrove, New Guide ... York (1838), 51).
(x) Coffin etc.: evidence of Roman burials was found in front of and behind Hennebique House, No. 123 The Mount, next to Pinehurst, in 1952–3 during alterations. A stone coffin containing a skeleton with a coin in the mouth, found here in 1930, was reopened in 1952 (YA and YAS Procs. (1952–3), 8, (1953–4), 30; Arch. News Letter, 6 Oct. 1948).
(xi) Cremation, of the late 2nd century, was also found at the same time and place as (x), in which (1) a large narrow-necked jar of coarse light orange ware containing the cremation had (2) a small beaker of cooking-pot form serving as a lid, while another similar beaker (3) and a tall, carinated bowl (4) accompanied them as grave furniture (Plate 30. Fig. 73).
The burials in the S.W. region so far described, exclusive of those in the Railway Station Cemetery, are chiefly roadside burials associated either with Road 10 or, at Holgate Villa (IV Region, (k), vii–xi), with Road 9. But near the junction of Road 10 with Road 11 they extend for some 350 yds. to N.W., and probably up to Road 9 itself, though its exact course is not here known. They formed an important cemetery (Fig. 70), rich in fragments from sculptured tombs. Indeed the purpose of Road 11 may have been to serve this cemetery.
Fragments of sculptured stones from this cemetery imply fine monuments. They include the noteworthy sphinx (see Inscriptions etc., No. 120), the tail of a large sea-monster (ibid., 121), two heads from funerary statues (ibid., 116, 117), a pine-cone finial from a tomb (ibid., 133). There are the tombstones of Baebius and of Manlius Crescens (ibid., 72, 88), the IXth Legion tombstone of a soldier from Novaria (ibid., 91), parts of other inscribed tombstones (ibid., 81, 86, 87), the relief from the tombstone of a centurion (ibid., 95), part of another funerary relief (ibid., 99), the inscribed sarcophagus of Aelia Severa (ibid., 103), for which the tombstone of Flavia Augustina (ibid., 77) was used as a lid, and the inscribed coffins of Theodorianus (ibid., 109) and Simplicia Florentina (ibid., 108). Further, two altars, one to the Matres, (ibid., 42, 43) also come from here.
The topography is complicated. In the 18th and 19th centuries the area was largely occupied by the grounds of Mount House, where finds were made in the early 19th century during landscape gardening. About the middle of the 19th century the house was demolished and the land developed as the Driffield Estate, including Dalton Terrace and Driffield Terrace, but much was left open and is now the grounds of Mount School. Burials found under the railway and just beyond it show that the cemetery also extended rather further to the N.W. Finds are therefore grouped where possible in three headings: Driffield Estate (i–vii), Mount School (viii– xvii), Holgate Bridge etc. (xviii–xxiii).
(i) 'Burial Vault', found in 1769 on the N.W. side of The Mount (N.G. 59355105), containing a lead coffin (York Courant, 7 Nov. 1769; W. Hargrove, History of York, I (1818), 245). Hargrove connected the burial with St. James's chantry chapel, but the traditional site for this is on the opposite side of The Mount, and the position of the vault in a known Roman cemetery suggests a structure similar to that already described (see p. 95).
(ii) Coffin, in stone, of Theodorianus (see Inscriptions etc., No. 109), was found (C. Wellbeloved, Eburacum (1842), 110) several years before 1842 and broken in removal to the garden of Mount House (60 ins. O.S. (1853), Sheet 14 (fn. 4)); the exact original place of discovery is not known. The coffin contained an adult male skeleton, of which the skull is now in the Yorkshire Museum. Wellbeloved (loc. cit.) states that it was found 'in the midst of urns, paterae, and other remains' and that the skeleton of a horse was close by. In 1901 the Museum purchased a series of Roman vessels said to have been found at the beginning of the 19th century and associated with the coffin of Theodorianus; and these may include the eight urns found, with a lamp and fibula, by workmen engaged in landscape gardening at Mount House in December 1807 and January 1808 (W. Hargrove, History of York, I, 281–3). Ten pots from the series are at present identifiable in the Yorkshire Museum (Fig. 74), five (H. 817–21), said to have been found together, being labelled as four cinerary urns and a small vessel. They are mainly very similar plain grey jars and include a waster (H. 823) of local ware (see p. 98a). The series dates from the 2nd and 3rd centuries:—
(iii) Coffins, two, of gritstone, uninscribed, 3 ft. and 4 ft. long, were found in 1860 under a house in Driffield Terrace near the junction with Love Lane (YPSR (1860), 35; Yorks. Gazette, 10 Nov. 1860; R. Skaife, Map of Roman and Mediaeval York, 1863).
(iv) Cinerary urn, lead-sealed, inverted on a flat stone and protected by three other stones; also a skeleton associated with an urn containing the bones of a domestic fowl. Both were found in 1877, probably on the site of the two houses near the corner of Dalton and Driffield Terraces (YMH, 119, 120).
(vi) Finds, various, made in 1859 at the N.E. corner of Dalton Terrace and The Mount, in building No. 150 The Mount and Nos. 1 and 2 Dalton Terrace. The site in terms of Roman topography was at the junction of Roads 10 and 11. The most important discovery, from No. 2 Dalton Terrace, was the coffin of Aelia Severa (see Inscriptions etc., No. 103), which contained the skeleton of an adult male coated with gypsum and for which the tombstone of Flavia Augustina (ibid., No. 77) was used as a lid. Another stone coffin, uninscribed, lay 12 yds. away, in the garden of No. 150 The Mount. Urns containing cremations included 5th-century Anglian as well as Roman burial urns, but unfortunately their relationship was not observed and recent excavation has shown that it cannot now be ascertained. In the Yorkshire Museum only a small grey ware beaker, H. 2326 (Fig. 74), is definitely identifiable as from this site. A crouched burial, a child's burial, and a skull found in 1950–1 in the garden of No. 148 The Mount may be presumed Roman (YPSR (1859), 13, 29, (1860), 35; YAJ, XXXIX (1958), 428).
(vii) 'Stone images, urn vases and human bones' were found W. of (vi), under the roadway between No. 2 Dalton Terrace and Mount School (60 ins. O.S. (1853), Sheet 14). The 'stone images' were almost certainly some of the carved stones referred to above. Three of them (see Inscriptions etc., Nos. 91, 95, 120) were found in 1852 in cutting a road on the summit of the hill. But the contemporary account in the York Herald (12 June 1852) records otherwise only the finding of a coin. It is, however, likely that this area was the source of the objects associated with twelve inhumations found between July and September, 1852, in the Roman cemetery on The Mount and now in Sheffield Museum. The skeletal remains are J. 93.952, 959–63, 971–2, 976 (E. Howarth, Catalogue of the Bateman Collection of Antiquities (1899), 169–71) in the Sheffield Public Museum. The pottery consists of the following (Fig. 75)
(viii) Tombstone, of Baebius Crescens (see Inscriptions etc., No. 72), a gritstone coffin and a deep-lying bed of concrete were found in 1911 during the construction of Mount School gymnasium (York Herald, 14 Oct. 1914); whether all belonged to one structure was not observed.
(ix) Grave goods, also from the School site, include a pipeclay statuette of Venus found in 1872, now (H. 81) in the Yorkshire Museum, a tazza and a lamp, both preserved in the School (fn. 5).
(x) Skeleton, uncoffined, and a broken urn containing a cremation were found in 1902 in digging foundations at the E. end of the School (H. W. Sturge and T. Clark, The Mount School, York, 221) and in 1930 two jars were found, one of which contained a cremation. (Information from the School authorities.)
Incorporated in the N.W. end of the school grounds is a triangular plot of land defined on two sides by the railway to N.W. and some 50 yards of Love Lane to S.W. (6 in. O.S. (1958), Sheet SE 55 SE). Between 1897 and 1945 it was worked as Dickinson's market garden, when the following burials were noted (YAJ, XXXIX (1958), where the pottery is published):—
(xii) Cremations, three, close to one another just S. of Road 11; the first, in a jar now lost, was protected by two tegulae propped against one another (ibid., 291, Q); the second, in a grey jar, now lost, included a bronze handle; the third, in a grey beaker, contained the jaw of a sheep or goat as well as human bones (ibid., 287, R).
(xiii) Cremations, six, nearer the railway fence: four were carefully set close together, in jars of the late 1st or early 2nd century, of which two of orange red fabric survive, one with a buff-coloured dish as a lid (ibid., 289, H, fig. 6 no. 4, fig. 7 no. 5, fig. 8 no. 12); the fifth, in a light grey cooking pot, was accompanied by a mid 2nd-century Samian cup and two late 2nd to 3rd-century Castor ware cups, one colour-coated in light orange-brown (ibid., 289, N, fig. 6 no. 2, fig. 11 no. 50, fig. 10 nos. 39, 40); the sixth, in a light grey cooking pot, was surrounded by fragments of eleven Flavian Samian vessels, not necessarily, however, associated (ibid., 288, O, fig. 6 no. 3).
(xiv) Skeletons, six, some 6 yards. from the railway fence and 20 yds. N.E. of Love Lane, were found at various levels in an area about 20 ft. by 7 ft. accompanied by coffin nails with wood adhering. One skeleton, of a child, was crouched, while an adult skeleton lay in a cobble-lined grave (YAJ, XXXIX (1958), 294–5, T). A second cobble-lined grave, empty, lay a few feet to N.E. (ibid., 295, U), while another skeleton was found some 20 ft. from Love Lane in erecting the railway fence (ibid., 295, V).
(xv) Coffin, of gritstone, containing a gypsum burial, found in 1932 some 35 yds. from the railway fence and 13 yds. N.E. of Love Lane. The gabled lid, 1½ ft. longer than the coffin, lay 1½ ft. to 2 ft. below ground-level. The head and feet of the body had been cased in gypsum but the rest had been supported and covered by gravel. A cobbled ramp just E. of the coffin had possibly been used in the interment (ibid., 283, W, Z).
(xvi) Skeletons, three, spaced apart, were found in 1905 some 13 yds. N.E. of (xv), together with coffin nails, and, on the breast of one, a key and fragments of a long linked chain for attachment to the waist (ibid., 286–7, Y).
(xvii) Cremation, 1 yd. from (xvi), was in an amphora cut across the middle for insertion of the cremated bones in a cloth bag. The break had been mended and the neck plugged with granite. This cylindrical amphora with tapering base, of the late 1st or early 2nd century, is now in the Yorkshire Museum. Disturbed grave goods from other burials, found on the surface, included a bronze mouse (Plate 34) (ibid., 287, X).
In this area over the years many more skeletons and pottery have been found, though not precisely located. The vessels containing cremations range from the late 1st to the early 3rd century. The rest of the pottery, probably grave goods mostly to be associated with inhumations, is not earlier than the mid 2nd century. With the exception of the amphora noted above, all the extant objects are in the History Department of St. John's College, York.
The following discoveries were made during railway construction, in 1837–9. The altar to the Matres (see Inscriptions etc., No. 42), which lay 60 ft. S.W. of the railway-bridge, was found in 1837, but there is no record of burials being found at the same time. A second altar, plain (ibid., No. 43), was also found hereabouts in 1840.
(xviii) Coffin, of stone, of Simplicia Florentina (see Inscriptions etc., No. 108), was found in 1838 some 110 yds. S.W. of Holgate railway-bridge, where marked on the 60 ins. O.S. (1853), Sheet 14. It had been reused, for the child which it contained was older than the ten months specified in the inscription. Not far from it were found the skeleton of a horse, apparently buried erect, and an uninscribed stone coffin containing an adult skeleton with a bone hair-pin near the skull and also the skeleton of a bird 'supposed to be a dove' (York Courant, 7 June 1838; Gents. Magazine (1839), pt. I, 640–1; C. Wellbeloved, Eburacum, 111).
(xix) Cremation, found near Holgate Bridge in 1854, in a lead container (Plate 32), now (H. 1058) in the Yorkshire Museum. The container is hemispherical, 11½ ins. in diameter and 6 ins. high, with a domed base, narrow mouth and a lid, a handle and a simple catch (YMH, 146). Another cremation in a 'Roman urn' found in 1837 is almost certainly from this area (York Courant, 6 July 1837).
(xx) Grave, timber-lined, was revealed in August, 1838, in gravel-digging N.W. of the railway, near Holgate Bridge (site, York Courant, 18 June, 23 Aug. 1838; BAA Journ., VI (1851), 156). The sides were formed by oak planks, 3 ft. to 4 ft. long, driven into the ground and lined with oak boards, the top and bottom being of similar material. The York Courant statement, that the body had been placed in the grave standing on its feet must be accepted with reserve. Nearby were the skeletal remains of adults and children and horses.
(xxi) Skeletons, several, were found in 1818 in a gravel pit in the neighbourhood of Holgate railway-bridge, at a depth of 4 ft. to 6 ft. below the surface; one skeleton had a plaited bracelet about the arm and silver ear-rings by the skull; twenty-nine coins, chiefly of Constantine and Crispus, were also found (York Herald, 3, 24 Oct. 1818; W. Hargrove, New Guide . . . York (1838), 34).
(xxii) Jars containing cremations unearthed in considerable numbers in the Holgate Bridge area were destroyed. Grave goods included a penannular brooch and counters or pins of bone (BAA Journ., VI (1851), 156).
Numbers of burials and grave goods are reported as found on The Mount, without further topographical detail. F. Drake in 1736 records a cremation group, with lead urn and a glass vessel (Eboracum, 66). The following is a select list of items in the Yorkshire Museum (see also Glass, pp. 136–41):—
(i) Grave group, found in 1824, consisting of two jet bangles (H. 316) of identical diameter, from the arms of a female skeleton, associated with a 'small earthen patera', now lost, and a small urn with cremation placed near the head, also lost (YMH, 125; W. Hargrove, New Guide . . . York (1838), 36).
(ii) Grave group, found in 1874, consists of bronze chains, some with hooks and one with a corresponding ring, small jet and bronze bangles and silver ear-rings (H. 312. 1–20). These trinkets, probably for a child, were found in a box below a cremation urn, said to be the very small rusticated beaker (Fig. 75) in red ware (H. 2071) (YMH, 135; YPS Comms. (1876), 15).
(iv–vii) Grave goods in the Yorkshire Museum include: an incomplete segmented jet bracelet (Plate 70) found in 1824 (YMH, 126); a glass vessel, H.G. 144 (Plate 66), shaped like a modern tumbler (YMH, 103, item k; Yorkshire Museum, Cook MS., 140, no. C, 1), this from a stone coffin; a glass unguent bottle (H.G. 48) from a cremation (YMH (1852), 60, item 3), and a small gold ear-ring also from a stone coffin (YMH, 122, item d); see Glass, pp. 137a, 140a, and Jets, p. 143a.
At the S.W. foot of The Mount Hill, just before the crossing of Knavesmire Beck (now running in a culvert), an inhumation and cremation cemetery (Fig. 70) was excavated in 1951–2, 1957, 1958 and 1959. Only brief interim reports are published; the following account is based upon the MS. report by L. P. Wenham, with notes on the pottery by J. P. Gillam. Most of the finds are in the Yorkshire Museum. A Note by Professor R. Warwick on the skeletal remains is appended, p. 109.
The cemetery was presumably limited on the N.W. by Road 10, for no burial is reported from the N.W. side of Mount Vale, and the building of St. Aubyn's Place in 1938 produced only a Ninth Legion tile (JRS, XXX (1940), 187), some pottery from the back garden of No. 4 and possibly the red flagon with multipleringed neck now (H. 71) in the Yorkshire Museum. To N.E. inhumations thinned out on the City side of the excavated area at a point 30 ft. to 40 ft. N.E. of Trentholme Drive. But earlier finds have been reported further N.E.: a stone coffin was uncovered in 1897 under the drive of Trentholme House, now the Embassy Hotel (Yorks. Gazette, 27 Feb. 1897; YPSR (1897), xi and xxxii), and a slab bearing at least a first line of an unrecorded inscription was found and buried in the rockery in front of the house (MS. note in J. Raine's interleaved copy of YMH (1881), now in the Yorkshire Museum). To S.E. the cemetery did not extend as far as the fork of Trentholme Drive, ending between houses Nos. 2 and 8. To S.W. cremations and skeletons were found in building the houses Nos. 147 and 149 Mount Vale in 1823 and 1882 (Yorks. Gazette and York Herald, 10, 17 May 1823; Yorks. Gazette, 7 Jan. 1826; W. Hargrove, New Guide . . . York (1838), 35; Gents. Mag. (1823), pt. I, 633; YPSR (1823), 31, (1824), 21, (1825), 24, (1882), 28). In 1952 an excavation in the garden of No. 147 confirmed the existence of burials here.
The main excavations (Plate 26) covered about 350 sq. yds. on each side of Trentholme Drive near its junction with Mount Vale. The south-western area, extending under Nos. 145, 147 and 149 Mount Vale and Trentholme Cottage, contained relatively shallow graves with remains of burnt bones and inhumed bodies. In the north-eastern area, however, pyres had been burned; the area was later used for inhumations up to a point some 30 yds. to 40 yds. N.E. of the Drive. The area of pyres was covered by a layer of burnt debris 1½ ft. thick, and its whole extent was not investigated; but it seemed to have extended in all directions for a radius of about 30 ft., from a centre at the N.E. corner of the junction of Vale and Drive. The burnt material comprised ash and fragments of coal and wood from the pyres, nails, burnt human and animal bones, rings of bronze or jet, and bracelets, also potsherds (including six distinct tazze), Samian ware, all except one sherd later than the first half of the 2nd century, and Castor colour-coated ware. Glass fragments represented at least ten vessels, nine of the 1st or 2nd century, one inscribed, and the tenth of the 3rd or 4th century, see Glass, p. 137a. The pyre debris also contained four coins, of A.D. 88–9, c. 141, 180–92, and a Flavian-Trajanic piece, while it was sealed by a layer with two unburnt coins, of the 3rd-4th century and of A.D. 270–3. The pyre was thus in use from about the middle of the 2nd century into the 3rd century. By the end of the 3rd century it had been superseded, and bodies were then buried in graves dug into the burnt debris; twelve were identified in 1952 N.E. of Trentholme Drive, one accompanied by a colour-coated cup of the late 3rd or early 4th-century.
Forty-two coins were found with inhumations, twelve of the 4th century, of which seven fell between A.D. 364 and 383. There is little 4th-century pottery, and what there is would suggest a closing date of about A.D. 320, as if in this cemetery pottery was no longer buried with the dead in the later 4th century. The initial date of the cemetery presents a similar problem in reverse. The earliest vessels found are few but have a pre-Hadrianic character, while coarse pottery and the Samian agree in indicating a date of about A.D. 140 for the beginning of the cemetery, as if these early vessels were old when buried or were survivals. There may indeed have been one or two altogether earlier burials, and this would explain the finding of two beakers in 'Parisian' ware (see below xxxii). Inhumations, as opposed to cremations, began later in the 2nd century.
Fifty-three cremations were identified in their pots, which were of various types, many of local manufacture, and all of coarse grey or orange red ware. The pots had been buried, and debris from the pyre had been shovelled into many of the graves with them. Dark patches in the ground indicated many graves disturbed by later burials and robbed of their urns, showing that the area had originally contained many more cremations. There was no pattern in the disposition of the burials, though a greater concentration seemed to occur near the pyre area. Cremations and inhumations had clearly overlapped in time. Seven cremations covered inhumations, two overlying a stone sarcophagus; on the other hand, apart from the inhumations cut into the pyre area, eight inhumations overlay cremations. But for a short period in the 2nd century, during the earliest use of the cemetery, cremation seems to have been the sole rite. All the vessels used as cinerary urns were of 2nd or 3rd-century types; some were sound and new, while others had been put to domestic use first. Some contained objects in addition to burnt bone, a coin, bone counters, potsherds, nails and pyre debris. Eight of the grave-holes contained pyre debris besides the urn. The depth of the top of the urns below Roman ground-level varied from 6 ins. to 4 ft. In one grave a flagon may have been associated with an urn as grave furniture, and in two others a beaker had been placed in the top of an urn. Another urn had a lid cut from the curved side of a much larger jar. One urn was placed upside down in a bowl, another formed part of a double burial in a single grave, in which two urns (iii and iv below), were placed one on top of the other, the lower inverted, in the grave filling of a stone coffin. The following is a selection of the pottery from cremations (Figs. 76–7):—
(i) Jar, narrow-mouthed, of light grey self-coloured fabric with zones of light burnishing. It had been disturbed, but a fragmentary jar and a beaker of cooking-pot form (xi below) found with it were probably all part of the same grave group. The pottery as a group would be of the late 2nd or early 3rd century.
(iii–iv) Jars, two, of cooking-pot form, from the double burial described above, are of similar fabric, both new when buried, and probably local products. Presumably they are contemporary with the early 3rd-century cooking pots of comparable form. Two other jars of this type contained cremations. Another group of local pottery is referred to below (xvii–xviii) with inhumations, though one example was found with a cremation.
(v) Jar, of grey fabric with rough surface, belongs to another distinct type of local pottery, comprising jars with rims thickened internally and flattened on top; in this example the rim was distorted before firing. All of the group are of light grey fabric and have the bulbous shape and plain cut-away base of the cooking pot. Their resemblance to cavetto-rim jars of the early to mid 3rd century suggests their date. Twenty were found in the Trentholme Drive cemetery and other examples are in the Yorkshire Museum, but the type is absent from the rest of N. Britain, indicating a local product of limited distribution. Jars with a rim closely resembling that of Dales ware, but otherwise similar to this York pottery, are probably a later product of the same factory.
(vi) Jar, of light grey fabric, with lattice scoring, of the mid to late 2nd century. This jar, still containing the cremation, had been shovelled back into the filling of a grave containing an unburnt body.
(vii) Cooking pot, large, of pink fabric with grey surface coating applied to the rim and shoulder, of the early 3rd century. The hole for it had been dug into the grave filling of an earlier inhumation. The pot contained cremated bones, large fragments of a yellowish buff flagon and, above these, pyre debris. Pyre debris also composed the grave filling. Another similar jar contained a cremation.
(xi) Beaker, damaged, of cooking-pot form, of black fumed and burnished fabric, undecorated and without a handle, of the late 2nd to early 3rd century. It was found with jar (i) described above, which contained the cremation. (xii) Jars, eight, indented, high-shouldered and of grey fabric. They are approximately contemporary and all of the same basic type, not widespread in N. Britain. The fabric is similar to that of the locally made pottery already described and at least one vessel is a waster. They were local products perhaps of the late 2nd or first half of the 3rd century A.D. Two contained cremations.
Cremation had ceased in this cemetery by the last quarter of the 3rd century, when inhumation became the sole rite; reference has already been made to the period of transition when both rites were being practised. Excavation has shown that in about 700 sq. yds of cemetery at least three hundred separate individuals had been buried. The cemetery yielded no evidence of any military connection and was probably civilian. No system was apparent in the lay-out of the graves, though they were occasionally aligned. The majority of burials in the pyre debris had a N.-S. alignment, but elsewhere the orientation was to every quarter of the compass. The sole evidence of a surface monument was associated with a boy about twelve years old, buried in crouched position in a shallow grave 6 ins. to 8 ins. below Roman ground-level under a very small cairn of cobbles—a native rather than a Roman tradition. Earlier burials were usually disturbed ruthlessly in digging later graves; only occasionally, perhaps when a wood coffin could still be recognized, were they respected.
Some graves were extremely shallow, the highest part of the skeleton being only 6 ins. to 8 ins. below Roman ground-level (Plate 27). The deepest burials were 6 ft. down, and the average was 3 ft. to 4 ft. Males and females of all ages from a few months to sixty years were represented. The majority of the bodies had been carefully laid in their graves, some in wood coffins and some not, but many had been buried in the posture of death, rigor mortis having set in before any formal laying-out of the body. Where laying-out was done, no uniformity of posture was followed, except that all children and most adolescents were buried on their sides in a crouched position, knees to chin. Oddities of posture included face downwards, some bodies had the feet crossed, and one, probably buried in a sack, was completely doubled up. In one grave two bodies, without coffin, lay back to back one over the other; and in a second, two youths lay face to face one over the other, the upper grasping with his left hand the right shoulder of the lower.
Wooden coffins were represented by nails, iron corner plates and occasional fragments of oak. A stone coffin was of the usual type, in Yorkshire gritstone, and the top of its gabled lid lay 3 ft. 2 ins. below ground-level. Earlier inhumations had been disturbed in digging the hole for it, and two 3rd-century cremations had been buried above it. It contained a fourteen year old boy, whose body had been coated with a small quantity of gypsum. An isolated lump of gypsum from a disturbed burial was found elsewhere. An unusual stone cist (Plate 27) was constructed as a cavity lined with coursed limestone set in clay, with a base of three slabs and a slab lid, of which the top was 3 ft. below Roman ground-level; a small indented Castor beaker lay between the slabs of the base, and a coin of Gallienus (A.D. 253–68) was in the filling of the grave. Thirty-one skeletons were accompanied by pottery as grave furniture, a selection of which is here described (Fig. 77)
(xiii) Flagon, ring-necked, of mid 2nd-century date, in orange self-coloured fabric with a graffito, PIII 'pondo III', on the shoulder. It was buried above the right elbow of a skeleton (JRS, XLIII (1953), 131).
(xiv) Flagon, of the late 2nd or early 3rd century, with a rim hollowed internally and two handles joining near the lip, in ware showing red through a white slip. It was buried with a grey ware beaker to the left of the skull.
(xvi) Jug, of unusual form, of hard dark grey unburnished fabric. It was found on the shoulder of a skeleton, its spout inclined towards the mouth of the skull, in which was a coin of A.D. 102–11 (YA and YAS Procs. (1952–3), fig. 6).
(xvii–xviii) Jars, two, of grey fabric and slender butt shape with thick, stout rim sharply everted. These are another local product; seventeen come from Trentholme Drive but the type is not found elsewhere in N. Britain. Though exhibiting preHadrianic features, they may belong to the second half of the 2nd century. Jar (xvii) was found at the foot of a skeleton, (xviii) by the left knee of another.
(xxiii) Beaker, of cooking-pot form, of light grey fabric; the rim profile is unusually sharp, though basically of the 3rd century. It was found alongside the left leg of a skeleton and contained the broken shell of a hen's egg. Complete or fragmentary egg-shells have been found in other pots (see p. 95a).
(xxvii) Beaker, 4th-century, indented, of white fabric with light brown colour-coating and rouletted in imitation of a Rhenish prototype. It had been placed on the stomach, with the arm folded across the chest just above it.
Pottery directly associated with inhumations or cremations was only a small part of the total found. The greater part comprised vessels disturbed by later burials and probably represented grave goods as did certainly the following four pots (Fig. 78)
A brief mention may be made of miscellaneous articles of adornment buried with or on the corpses and of the remains of pets or food offerings placed with them. The former comprise thirteen finger rings, three ear rings, bronze and jet bracelets, a trumpet brooch, pins of bronze and bone, and jet beads. The latter, sometimes in pots and sometimes not, include horse, ox, sheep, pig, cat, red deer, roe deer, birds and oysters, besides the hens' eggs already mentioned (see (xxiii) above).
(i) Holgate Village—Inhumation, in a stone coffin, found on 29 July, 1881, near the railway workshops opposite Holgate House (N.G. 588514). The skeletal material is in the Yorkshire Museum, with a label giving the position of discovery.
(ii–iii) West Bank—Inhumations, two, in stone coffins, with pottery, were found some 500 yds. S.W. of Road 9 (N.G. 58385109); the site is marked on 6 ins. O.S. (1853), Sheet 174. One coffin contained four small beakers, of which one is in the Yorkshire Museum (YMH, 148), and other potsherds were found nearby (YPSR (1851), 21).
Beyond Trentholme Drive, Roman burials probably continued at intervals alongside Road 10. Only one is recorded between Mount Vale and Dringhouses, but lack of building development may account for the paucity of finds. A small cemetery has been discovered in Dringhouses itself near the junction of St. Helen's Road with Tadcaster Road (YPSR (1903), 10); other finds may have belonged to this or represent scattered tombs. The carved tombstone-relief of a smith (see Inscriptions etc., No. 96) was found on the opposite side of Tadcaster Road from St. Helen's Road (YPSR (1860), 10, 33).
(i) Tile tomb, reconstructed in the Yorkshire Museum, found 3 ft. below ground surface in 1833 at Mount Villa in Tadcaster Road (N.G. 58925019). It was 7½ ft. long and composed of ten tegulae set on edge, four a side and one at each end, with the ridge covered by imbrices; the tiles were stamped LEG VI VI. Within the tomb space was pyre debris containing calcined bones and nails, but no pottery (Gents. Mag. (1833) pt. I, 357; YMH, 66).
(iii) Coffins, a further four, of stone, are recorded from Dringhouses, one 'dug up near this place' (F. Drake, Eboracum (1736), 21); two in 'Bawtry Field', Dringhouses (J.J. Sheahan and T. Whellan, York and the E. Riding (1855), I, 651); and the fourth from near Mr. Close's father's house at Dringhouses (Raine YPL, 2 March 1875, 10).
(iv) Pottery: face vase (Plate 29) (H. 2133) in the Yorkshire Museum, labelled as from St. Helen's Road (YPS Procs. (1936), 5). Other pottery in the Museum probably from this site includes (Fig. 78): 'H. 782, a Castor ware indented beaker, narrow-mouthed, of buff fabric with orange-red colourcoating; H. 2077, an unusual single-handled flagon of red ware with a cordon below the mouth and a very narrow neck; H. 1104, a mortarium sherd.
This area, S. of the colonia S.W. of the river, contained one probable cemetery as well as small groups and isolated burials. One group, comprising four tile tombs and two cremations, was found in the Baile Hill area, immediately S.E. of the built-up area of the colonia. Grave pottery and one or two inhumations found outside the City Walls in Clementhorpe, mainly S.E. of Bishopsgate Street and Bishopthorpe Road, suggest the existence there of a small late 3rd or 4th-century inhumation cemetery. Other burials, geographically well separated from the foregoing, are known further S. in Nunthorpe.
(i) Tile tomb, found in 1882 on the S.E. side of Falkland Street, 3 ft. long and composed of two tiles on each side, half tiles at each end and two imbrices covering the top, the tiles being stamped LEG VI V. The recorded contents were a lamp, some sherds and a small bracelet of twisted gold and silver wires (YMH, 67).
(iii) Tile tombs, two, were found in May and July, 1883, near Baile Hill and not far from the city wall, probably during building in Kyme Street, Newton Terrace, or Baile Hill Terrace. One, 6 ft. long, was composed of eighteen tiles, four on each side, with the remains of a second row leaning against them, one at each end and imbrices covering the ridge. The tile-stamps, of the VIth Legion, included LEG VI V PF. The tomb contained the extended skeleton of a woman with a second brass of Trajan in her mouth. The second tomb, 5½ ft. long, was of similar construction, but roofed with tegulae instead of imbrices. There is no record of contents (YMH, 68).
(iv) Grave group, found close to the foot of (iii), outside, consisted of 'a small black urn with an iron lampstand very much corroded and on either side of the urn, close to the tiles, was a leaden ossuarium filled with bones' (ibid.). This was evidently a cremation.
Several burials are recorded, and the tombstone of Vitellia Procula's child (see Inscriptions etc., No. 90) was found here, on the site of St. Clement's Nunnery. A number of complete pots have also been found in the area. Although the associations of the latter are un known, their perfect state suggests that they were grave goods. They are consistently of the 3rd or 4th century.
(i) Large coffin, of stone, found in July 1851, at a depth of 3 ft. under a house at the corner of Price's Lane and Bishopgate Street (N.G. 60205112), containing the skeleton of a woman with the skeleton of a child between her legs. The bodies had been covered in gypsum, forming a cast (Plate 33) preserved in the Yorkshire Museum, with fragments of cloth still adhering to it (see below). No grave goods are preserved from this coffin, but a hole above the left shoulder of the woman's skeleton shows whence some were removed. In 1853 T. Price, on whose land the burial was found, gave to the Yorkshire Museum a small Roman coin found in a stone coffin (YMH, 13, 110–1; YPSR (1851), 10–1, (1853), 21).
(ii) Coffin, of stone, found in 1865, beneath Ebor Street near its junction with Cherry Street. A Castor ware beaker, H. 2312 (Fig. 78), and glass jug, H.G. 44 (Plate 67), from it are in the Yorkshire Museum; the latter is of clear ice-green glass and has one two-ribbed handle, a kicked base and a foot ring (YMH, 102; YPSR (1865), 23); see Glass, p. 140b. The tombstone of Vitellia Procula's child was found a few yards away.
(iv) Pottery, now in the Yorkshire Museum, (Fig. 78) includes: H. 2078, a jug, found in 1877, of Castor ware in buff fabric with brown colour-coating, a single handle and pinched spout; H. 2309, a narrow-mouthed indented beaker, found in 1883, of Castor ware in buff fabric with brown colour-coating; H. 2314, a narrow-mouthed, rouletted pentice-moulded beaker found in 1919, of light grey fabric; H. 2340, a beaker in hard grey ware, found in 1878 in Bishopthorpe Road; H. 2332, a small jar in thick and coarse dark grey fabric copiously charged with calcite grit, found in 1938 under the Victoria Vaults opposite Victoria Bar, at the corner of Dove Street.
In 1813 two stone coffins were found in a field between Middlethorpe and Old Nunthorpe, each containing a body laid in gypsum; according to Hargrove, one skull was lying on the chest of the skeleton (History of York, I, 289–90). In 1826, two coffins were found in the same field (Yorks. Gazette, 14 Jan. 1826). In 1839 a skull and a coin of Claudius Gothicus were found near Campleshon Road (YPSR (1838), 24).
All the cloths are plain weave, with the possible exception of one from the Clementhorpe burial, and no features of special interest could be detected. The yarns are evenly spun and clearly defined. The cloths vary considerably in texture; but all of them are fairly fine, while the finest is very fine and could hardly be anything but linen. The twist of the yarn could be seen only in one burial. Except for the burial found in the Railway excavations in 1877, where very decayed fragments of cloth survived, it was necessary to rely on examination of the impressions in the gypsum and positive casts made therefrom. The references below to Regions etc. are to entries under Burials.
Burial (ix), from the Railway excavations, New Parcels Office, 1892. Child. Most of the surface appears quite smooth with no sign of textile, but it is possible to see some cloth impressions in the folds. The gypsum seems to have run between the layers of cloth in some places. At one end, where the smooth upper (or inner) layer of gypsum has flaked away, there is visible a fine plain cloth. The count is warp about 56, weft about 80 threads per inch. This is the cloth which wrapped the body. A small area of another rather coarser cloth is exposed near one end, and represents an outer layer of cloth. The count is warp about 36, weft about 56 threads per inch. Yorkshire Herald, 26 Nov. 1892.
Burial (xiii), from a site S.E. of the present Railway Station, 1848. The coarsest of the cloths, warp about 36, weft 18–24 threads per inch. The body seems to have been in a wooden coffin, which was placed in a tomb of very large hewn stones now preserved in the Yorkshire Museum. YMH, 114.
Burial (ii) from the Railway Station, 1877. Fragments of actual textile, in several layers, remain. It is fairly closely woven, both systems spun Z. The finer yarn has about 24–30 threads per inch, the heavier yarn is closer set with about 40–48 threads per inch. The burial was in a stone coffin, now preserved in the Yorkshire Museum. YMH, 64.
Fine cloth, warp about 100–120 per inch, weft about 52–56 per inch. Some selvages can be seen; they do not appear to have any special arrangement, but the cloth is too fine to see exactly how the warps are grouped.
Red ribbed cloth, which occurs only as narrow strips. Where measurable it appears to be about 3.3 ins. and 4 ins. wide. The edge is always very neat and presumably represents a selvage, so that the cloth has probably been woven as a strip about 3.5–4 ins. wide. It is characterised by regular transverse ribs, presumably made by thick weft threads, 26 per inch. The lengthwise threads (presumably the warp) are extremely fine and so closely packed that they cover the weft; it is almost impossible to count them, but there appear to be roughly 140 per inch. The cloth seems to be a plain-weave rep, but it is not possible to be certain of this; the description written when fragments could still be seen (one or two minute and extremely decayed fragments still exist in situ), is worth noting: 'the garments . . . appeared to have been ornamented with crimson or purple stripes, of a texture something like velvet or plush' (YMH, 110). It certainly seems to have been red, for a pinky-mauve stain survives on the gypsum in places.
When considering the relative positions of the cloths, their size and form, there are three difficulties: over considerable areas the gypsum has not taken a sufficiently clear impression to show which cloth is represented; the cloths in places are deeply creased and folded; the gypsum cast only records the cloths on the upper half of the body with which it actually came in contact.
The red strips always occur over the fine tabby cloth. They follow the folds in this cloth and lie parallel to one of the systems of threads in it. Almost certainly the red strips were sewn on to the fine linen. On the left shoulder of the woman the strips appear to be laid at right angles to each other. The fine linen, with the applied strips, stretches over the face and upper part of the body of the woman, but cannot be traced below the region of the waist. On the right side there is a selvage edge, and below this an area of the coarse cloth is exposed, probably accidentally. The lower part of the woman's body is covered with the middle-weight of plain cloth; unfortunately its junction with the fine and coarse cloths is not recorded by the gypsum.
The baby's body was wrapped separately, but in the same cloths as were used for the woman. The baby's head is wrapped in two layers of fine cloth between which is exposed a small area of coarse cloth with a selvage at its upper edge. The body is wrapped in fine linen bearing two parallel red strips 5.2 ins. apart. The upper of these two strips stops abruptly at the head as if the cloth were turned under at the neck.
This account of the anatomical features of the skeletons found in the Trentholme Drive Cemetery (see pp. 101–6) is based on a report by Professor Roger Warwick of the Anatomy Department of Guy's Hospital Medical School. Although about a third of the burials had been disturbed, the skeletal remains were in general excellently preserved and they provide the largest and most significant Romano-British find of the kind yet made.
The number of inhumations is assessed at about 316, to which about 50 known cremations may be added; this total may be used to give a rough indication of the civilian population of York in Roman times. On the assumption that perhaps only half the cemetery was explored, it can be thought to have contained at least 700 and perhaps 1,000 graves. If the Trentholme Drive area contained, say, one tenth of the burials in Roman York, the total number over a period of some three centuries may not have been much over 10–15,000. Assuming, on the evidence discussed below, that the average span of life was about 40 years, the civil population of the town would have been of the order of 1,200.
Estimation of the proportions of the sexes is less speculative; of the 290 individuals whose sex could be decided, 80 per cent. were males. This ratio of four males to one female is comparable with the ratio of three to one in one group of inhumations in the Railway Station cemetery (see Burials, Region IV, Area (e), (v)) and among the Belgae of Cranborne Chase; at Frilford, where the only other large group of supposedly Romano-British people has been found, the ratio was 2.5 to 1. The preponderance of males can be partly explained in the case of York by its status as a garrison town and a colonia where veterans might have been settled in some numbers.
An analysis of the ages at time of death, based on 280 examples, shows that about one tenth were children under fifteen and that more than three-quarters died before they were forty; survivals beyond the age of fifty seem to have been rare. Expectation of life was therefore much lower than at the present time. Since the skeletons show little evidence of mortal injury and no signs of diseases of malnutrition such as rickets, the earlier mortality may have been largely due to the more serious infectious diseases which leave no trace in the skeletal remains. The comparatively small number of females prevents any significant comparison between mortality in the two sexes. Only half as many women as men (in proportion to their total numbers) reached the fifth decade—the reverse of the present tendency. A higher rate of childbirth morbidity may have been one cause, but only three infant burials at most were found though the number of older children was considerable. (fn. 6)
The cause of death could only be determined in a few cases; the rarity of signs of violent death, already noted, may have been due to the use of the cemetery by a civil population. Evidence of injuries and bone diseases were apparent and need not have been the cause of death. For example, fractures were relatively common and included those of thigh, shin and forearm, ribs and collar-bones; in most, the healing was good, though in some the broken bones had united in an overlapping position leading to some shortening of the limb. Little evidence of surgical methods was noted, though one skull appeared to have been trephined; in this there were no clear signs of healing so that death presumably followed shortly after the operation. Two examples of bone tumours were discovered, one perhaps associated with a brain tumour, but both were non-malignant.
Major deformities were absent. The commonest bone disease was rheumatism in various forms. The skeletons showed abundant signs of osteo-arthritis and occasionally rheumatoidarthritis. The most common condition seemed to be osteoarthritis of the spine; at least 50 individuals were so affected, some only slightly, some to a marked degree. Spondylitis deformans, a much rarer spinal disease, was represented by three examples. Osteo-arthritis also occurred in other joints, particularly between the right collar-bone and the breast bone; those affected were males, usually well built and strong. This prevalence of rheumatic diseases may well have had its cause in the way of life of the people of Roman York. Their work and habitation would doubtless expose them to hard labour and climatic extremes, particularly dampness, two factors which have long been regarded as causes of this condition.
Little evidence of other diseases that affect the bones was found and tuberculosis was apparently non-existent. Some limb bones had appearances suggestive of syphilis; but a similar disease, yaws, at present widespread in the African continent, could have been brought into Britain by auxiliary troops; the absence of the stigmata of congenital syphilis in the children's skeletons would favour another such explanation. Osteo-myelitis of bone may have been present in a few cases but had certainly not reached an advanced stage.
The remains provide a clear picture of dental health and disease. The teeth were well-formed, better spaced than today and largely free from caries; of the 5,000 teeth examined less than 5 per cent. showed decay. A few examples of absent, malformed and misplaced teeth were noted and there were several instances of impacted wisdom teeth. No steps seem to have been taken to alleviate this condition though teeth may have been deliberately extracted in some cases. Another distinctive feature was the rapid wearing of the biting and grinding surfaces, particularly in the molar teeth. Many in their early thirties had teeth ground almost flat, and most of the older people had lost some of their molar teeth from this cause. The actual tissue of the teeth was the same as that of modern Britons, so that the freedom from decay and the rapid wearing were presumably due to differences in diet and in particular to the grit present in flour. There is no evidence to suggest what cleaning techniques were used.
In general build and physique the Trentholme Drive people varied, like any population, but on the whole they appear to have been strong and hardy, and well muscled, as the prominent markings on their limb bones indicate. The long collarbones and wide pelves of the men show them to have been of a relatively broad build. Compared with modern standards the men were of medium stature, the women relatively small; the average for 100 adult males was about 5 ft. 7 ins., and for 30 adult females 5 ft. 1 in. The disparity between the sexes was thus more marked than is usual today. This is not by itself a clear indication of racial difference, but the cranial evidence described below does suggest that the men and women of Roman York may have been of diverse extraction.
The stature of the children could be calculated in only nineteen cases and was less conclusive. The boy of fourteen years buried in a sarcophagus was 4 ft. 6 ins. in height, which is below the average of 5 ft. 1 in. obtaining today; but a child of four years was well above the modern average. In ten examples the calculated height was less than the modern averages which suggests that the children were generally smaller than they are today.
The Trentholme Drive material contained 180 skulls sufficiently well preserved for measurements of length and breadth to be taken to give the cephalic index. The only comparable series of measurements is that made in 1935 by Dudley Buxton who considered all the Romano-British skulls available up to that time (L. H. Dudley Buxton, 'The Racial affinities of the Romano-Britons', JRS, XXV (1935), 35–50). Many of these were damaged and the only large groups included were one from York Railway Station numbering 61 (see Burials, Region IV, Area (e), (v)), the Belgae of Cranborne Chase (54) and the Dobunni of Frilford (86). Thus the Trentholme Drive material equalled the sum of the other finds. Moreover about half were complete in the facial part of the skull and most of these retained mandibles, so that it was possible to compare them on a wide basis of measurements.
In shape they showed a wide variation, including longheaded and broadheaded people, but the majority lay about midway, perhaps a little nearer to the broadhead extreme. The females were slightly more longheaded and appeared to belong to a uniform type. The males, however, could be divided, tentatively at least, into several groups. The majority resembled the females in having a low, rather long head, elliptical when seen from above and with a pronounced bulge in the occipital region. In profile they were similar to the average outlines of Romano-British skulls constructed by Buxton, although the Trentholme Drive skulls bulged more prominently at the back and were also slightly less longheaded. One group of five males had high sloping foreheads and prominent cheeks and noses; they were brachycephalic and possibly of Armenoid type, from the eastern Mediterranean. Another group of seven had very long faces and highly domed heads; one skull had weakly marked negroid characters and the proportions of the limbs of several skeletons resembled those of negroid people.
It is difficult to draw conclusions from these facts: adequate measurements from proved racial groups are not available for comparison. Nevertheless the evidence suggests that whereas the women were of a single, probably indigenous, race, the men were mixed and included other racial types of White or Caucasian stock, with perhaps an occasional dark-skinned man. These foreign elements may have been Roman citizens from the Empire serving at York or settled there as veterans; in almost every case they were aged thirty or more.