Best practice in announcing discoveries has been suitably followed with an archaeological dig at Gloucester. A mass burial of entangled bones was found in 2004 and is thought to constitute a mass burial site caused by plague. The Antonine plague is dated to the second century AD.
It is believed the bodies were victims of the Antonine Plague, which tore through Europe in the second century.
Archaeologists spent a painstaking 18 months analysing the bones, which were dumped about a century before the Romans quit Britain.
Britannia left the Roman empire early in the fifth century. Either they were dumped a century after they died or someone is wrong. Lack of trauma promotes the plague theory:
The report, ‘Life and Death in a Roman City’, puts forward the theory that the cause of death may have been the Antonine plague, an outbreak perhaps of smallpox that swept across the Roman Empire between AD 165 and 189.
Plague, which kills quickly, tends not to leave marks on bone and therefore it is not surprising that evidence for disease is lacking on these skeletons. It is hoped that future tests on the bones for DNA will confirm this.
This was a severe plague that killed five million people and ravaged the Roman Empire, identified as potentially smallpox or measles. The plague site was a colonia and the arte of death was high enough to merit a plague pit. No doubt there are other pits in coloniae across the country that have not been discovered.