Model of Roman skeleton discovered on Watton building site is unveiled

Official unveiling at Wayland Hall of 'Hero', the model of a skeleton found during the construction

Official unveiling at Wayland Hall of 'Hero', the model of a skeleton found during the construction of a housing development in Watton. Also pictured are Watton mayor Beryl Bunning and Bennett Homes sales & marketing manager Dawn Urry. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

A historical artefact which spent 2,000 years buried beneath a Norfolk market town is to go on public display and could form a 'centre piece' in its new museum.

Official unveiling at Wayland Hall of 'Hero', the model of a skeleton found during the construction

Official unveiling at Wayland Hall of 'Hero', the model of a skeleton found during the construction of a housing development in Watton. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

The human skeleton, named Hero, was discovered during preparation works on the Signals site in Watton in December 2010.

Campaign group Museum4Watton approached developers Bennett Homes to ask if it could commission a model of the inhumation, believed to be Roman.

Not only did Bennett commission and fund the construction of the model, but it agreed to give it to the group on permanent loan, to become a focal point of its heritage centre in Watton.

The model was unveiled during a ceremony in Wayland Hall on Thursday, attended by many town councillors and Museum4Watton members.

Official unveiling at Wayland Hall of 'Hero', the model of a skeleton found during the construction

Official unveiling at Wayland Hall of 'Hero', the model of a skeleton found during the construction of a housing development in Watton. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt


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Mayor of Watton Beryl Bunning said: 'Museum4Watton and Bennett Homes' achievement goes to show what you can achieve if you work together.

'It is essential that we continue to collect, preserve and protect the past of this town for our future generations to learn of Watton and Wayland's heritage.

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'Thanks go to Bennett Homes for the inhumation of Hero and their offer to loan it to the museum. It is going to be a real centre piece.'

Chris Hutchings, trustee at Museum4Watton, said: 'It was a really big surprise that Bennett Homes agreed to finance this model. It is a massive thing for us.'

The adult male skeleton was discovered near a Bronze Age burial site during excavations by the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) on the Signals site and is believed to date to between 40AD and 400AD.

The skeleton was sent to sculptors in Dartford, who took moulds of the bones and cast them in resin, a wood derivative. After the model making process it was returned to MOLA's Northampton base.

The model, which cost around £3,000 to make, is about to begin a tour Watton. From July 4 it will be on display at the Watton Antiques and Collectables Centre at Retro Recyclers for around eight weeks before going on show at Wayland Academy.

Principal Glen Allott said it would give pupils an opportunity to 'contexualise their learning' about Roman history.

Dawn Urry, sales and marketing manager at Bennett Homes, said: 'As we are building in the town, this is a nice way for us to give something back to the community. It gives us the opportunity to do something in return.'

Mr Hutchings said Museum4Watton is currently in talks with Watton Town Council about leasing rooms in Wayland Hall for a museum, where the model could be put on display more permanently.

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