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An 1,800-year-old murder mystery unearthed

world Updated: Sep 16, 2010 15:54 IST

In a shallow grave in Britain lay a girl with injuries to her head. An investigation is being carried out not by the police, but by archaeologists as her death took place over 1,800-years back.

The child's remains were found in a pit in the corner of a barrack room floor at Vindolanda Roman Fort, Northumberland, Daily Mail reported on Thursday.

Archaeologists are of the opinion that the girl was murdered and then buried in a rush so as not to arouse suspicion.

Trudi Buck, a biological anthropologist from Durham University, identified the remains as those of a young person, possibly a girl.

She said that from the body's position in the grave, the hands could have been tied together.

The place where the body was found dates back to the mid-third century.

"All sorts of scenarios are being considered. First and foremost we could be dealing with a slave, not a free person.

"There could have been a dispute between two soldiers, and one of them could have decided to damage the other's property. In Roman times slaves were considered to be property, and it is possible the little girl was harmed to settle a score," Andrew Birley, Vindolanda's director of excavations, was quoted as saying.

"What I can say for certain is that this was a crime that had to be covered up quickly. It would not have been easy for the murderers to carry the body outside of the fort because of check points, and this is why the child was disposed of within its boundaries."