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December 2007 - Thornborough burial mounds near Buckingham

Thornborough Roman barrows as seen from the airIf you fancy a walk after Christmas dinner, why not get out into the Buckinghamshire countryside and experience the county's heritage?

 

The Romans liked a good party at Christmas, too. It was called Saturnalia, dedicated to the god Saturn, and was celebrated from the 17th to the 23rd of December.

 

So to bring a little bit of saturnalia into your Christmas, how about visiting Thornborough Roman barrows? These two barrows are very visible from the A421 between Buckingham and Milton Keynes, itself an old Roman road, and there is a car park nearby.

 

A cremation burial excavated at ThornboroughRoman roads being excavated at ThornboroughIn 1839 the Duke of Buckingham excavated the larger of the two mounds and found the burial of a wealthy Roman from the 3rd century AD inside. Burials were often made along roads so that the dead could be remembered as travellers passed by. This spot, where the road crosses the River Twin, was a crossroads, so an even better place to be buried as it would be a busy spot (this contrasts with the later tradition of burying criminals at crossroads).

 

See our visitor guide to Thornborough mounds.