This week, it was revealed that a headless sarcophagus has been discovered in London. Sometimes, when I read about these news headlines, it moves me to wonder, “who are these people and what did they do in their former lives?” Although some of these answers may never be answered, archeologists sure try their hardest to get to the bottom of things once they come across a relic from the past. This article will highlight important details regarding this recent find.
Earlier this month, a rarity in the archeology world was found in London. It was a Roman limestone sarcophagus, which appeared headless. For those of you wondering what the heck a “sarcophagus” is, it is often a stone coffin that is usually decorated with a sculpture or displays some sort of inscription. This historic find was uncovered within the historic St. Martin-in-the-Fields church, which is located close to the centralized site of the well-known Trafalgar Square.
When it comes to dating a find such as this, researchers took previous knowledge, the positioning, as well as studying of the specimen to conclude that the sarcophagus dates back to around 410 AD. Previously, researchers made note of the boundaries associated with the Roman city walls in London, but this find was discovered 10 feet underneath the ground, as well as outside of the Roman boundary lines. The researchers are all abuzz with this discovery, which opens up new worlds for exploration throughout the Roman London field of study.
This summer was a big season for archeologists, who uncovered close to 25 medieval burial sites above and surrounding the Roman sarcophagus find. The church grounds were filled with brilliant excavators and archaeological teams, feverishly working on the area in hopes of discovering something big. The find was also located not to far from the National Gallery art museum and the square.
In describing the sarcophagus, it was fashioned from a single piece of limestone that seemed to originate from Oxfordshire or Northamptonshire. These sites are about 60 miles from London. The distinct characteristics of the skeleton are rather telling. It was concluded to be a male and thought to have died when he was in his 40s. His skeleton would have stood about 5-foot-6-inches. As previously stated, he did not have a head and was also missing fingers.
Although one would think he was a victim of torture or possibly a beheading, researchers instead think that Victorian workers, who took part in constructing the sewer, took his head. This is a great find for those studying London Roman history. This headless wonder was not the first of its kind to be found. There were also two similar finds in this area of research. The first was uncovered during the 19th century at Westminster Abbey. The second find was discovered within London during the 1970s.