England,  ER,  Western Europe

Search for the Tomb of Boudicca

12208461_178440989164658_8581996423985244928_nAfter Richard III was found in a parking lot, there has been a bonanza for finding the final resting places of the monarchs of Britain. To round out the series on Boudicca, it seems a natural progression to discuss where her tomb is located.  (For more on Boudicca, please see this post:  http://www.historynaked.com/boudiccas-revolt/ )

Reports are mixed as to whether Boudicca left the battlefield alive. Roman historian Tacitus said she and her daughters escaped and took poison. Greek historian Cassius Dio recorderded that she died from illness. No matter how she died, Boudicca would have been given a burial befitting her high status.

Legend give many places for her possible burial- Stonehenge, Norfolk or Hampstead. Some even claim she is buried under either platform 8, 9 or 10 at King’s Cross Station. An interesting theory for Harry Potter fans, but there does not seem to be much archaeological evidence for that.

A discovery of a grave in 2006 in Birmingham next to a McDonald’s seemed promising, but as yet there is no evidence tying it to Boudicca.

The most promising site to date is in Birdlip in Gloucestershire, where the graves of three high status women were found. The grave was dated to the mid 1st century, which is the correct time period. In the central grave, a significant hoard of treasures was found including bronze bowls, knives, jewelry and an exotic stone thought to be from China. The gem of the find was a polished bronze mirror with a handle decorated with red enamel. This is said to be the finest Celtic mirror found in Britain so far.

While the high quality goods indicate the grave of a person of status, a few other things point to the grave being Boudicca’s. The jewelry was made from amber, which was from North Anglia, the area ruled by the Iceni. Also, Birdlip was under the control of the Dobunni tribe, which is thought to be Boudicca’s homeland. They were certainly allies of the Iceni and may have given her sanctuary.

Unfortunately, no hard evidence connects this or any other grave with Boudicca. Wherever she is, she escaped the jeering crowds of a Roman Triumph and slipped into legend.