ARCHAEOLOGISTS investigating a mass burial of 97 infants were 'horrified' to find what they believe to be the skeleton of a dismembered child.
Chiltern Archaeologists suspect the site in Hambleden could have been a Roman brothel – where unwanted babies were systematically killed.
Dr Jill Eyers, who lives in Lane End, said the group has discovered cut marks on the bones of one of the babies.
She added: “These were knife marks and would represent a dismembering of this infant. We are horrified to say the least and are now about to closely check all other infant skeletons.
“If dismembered this could be signs of a ritual activity at this site. This is turning more sinister by the minute.”
Dr Eyers said ritual activity was not unusual for Roman Britain, citing a 'head cult' which was present in St Albans in Hertfordshire.
The group has been carrying out tests on excavation finds from 1912 at the Yewden villa.
An examination of the remains, which were rediscovered in boxes kept at Buckinghamshire County Museum, revealed the babies died at 40 weeks gestation (see link below).
A BBC documentary set to air on August 19, called 'Digging for Britain', will feature the Hambleden discoveries.
Presenter Alice Roberts was so enthused by the project that she has volunteered to join the Chiltern Archaeology team.