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‘Once-in-a-lifetime’ find: Roman statues are found during excavation of an English church

The discovery of Roman statues in a mausoleum under an old church has been dubbed a ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ find by archaeologists. A discovery was made while working on a high-speed railway project in a small English village. Archaeologists discovered three stone busts that appeared to be Roman while excavating a circular ditch around what was thought to be the foundations of an Anglo-Saxon tower.

One of the busts in the collection includes a head and torso that had been split before deposition. The third consists of just a head. It has been concluded that the statues belong to one female adult and one male adult, along with the head of a child. Fusion JV, HS2’s Enabling Works Contractor, and L-P Archaeology, HS2’s archaeological contractor, completed the work.

Dr. Rachel Wood, Lead Archaeologist for Fusion JV, in a press release said, ‘For us to end the dig with these utterly astounding finds is beyond exciting. The statues are exceptionally well preserved, and you really get an impression of the people they depict literally looking into the faces of the past is a unique experience. Of course, it leads us to wonder what else might be buried beneath England’s medieval village churches’.

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A well-preserved hexagonal glass Roman jug was also found alongside the statues. Even after being buried for years, large pieces of the jug were still intact. Archaeologists have concluded that the square building predated the Norman church and is a Roman mausoleum. The artefacts will be taken to a specialist laboratory for further examination. However, no final destination has been decided for the finds.



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