Ancient sarcophagus and baby’s bones discovered near the Borough Market construction site

The casket appears to have been opened by grave robbers in an area that the Romans used as a burial cemetery, thus the team is unsure if the newborn was buried with it.

According to Gillian King, senior archaeology planner at Southwark Council, a sizable crack on the lid was most likely caused by burglars.

“It was broken into two pieces, most likely by thieves sometime in the post-medieval era,” she remarked.

“As archaeologists, we hope that they left behind items that held little significance for them but immense importance for us.

“We never imagined there would be a sarcophagus here, but we always knew this site had the potential to be a Roman cemetery.”

After the council ordered developers to foot the bill for an archeological dig, the coffin was discovered at the location last month, several meters below the surface.

Experts believe that since its lid had been slid open, burglars may have targeted it in the 18th century.

The property was close to two major Roman routes, therefore the council had urged developers to search the region for historical artifacts before moving forward with the construction of new apartments.

Roman burials were restricted to taking place outside of town walls, so this made the site an ideal place to collect artifacts from antiquity.

Halfway into the excavation, six months after it was scheduled to end, archaeologists found the coffin.

They think it was the coffin of a wealthy Roman London resident, but testing and dating of the dirt and bones within will be necessary before they can be certain.

The sarcophagus will now be brought to the Hackney archive of the Museum of London for examination.

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