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UK News

‘Rare’ Roman statues discovered at abandoned church on HS2 route

today28/10/2021

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Archaeologists digging on the route of the HS2 high-speed railway have discovered a set of Roman statues at an abandoned church.

The collection was uncovered at the medieval St Mary’s Church in Stoke Mandeville, Buckinghamshire.

Two complete statues, of what appear to be, of a man and a woman were found, along with the head of a child.

EMBARGOED TO 0001 FRIDAY OCTOBER 29 Undated handout photo issued by HS2 of a parts of roman statues uncovered at the dig site at St Mary's Church, Stoke Mandeville. Archaeologists in Buckinghamshire working on the HS2 project have uncovered a set of incredible rare Roman statues and a hexagonal glass Roman jug, thought to be over 1,000 years old, whilst excavating a Norman Church in Stoke Mandeville. Issue date: Friday October 29, 2021.
Image: The statues have been described as ‘hugely significant’ and ‘rare’ in the UK

A hexagonal glass Roman jug was also discovered with large pieces still intact, despite being underground for what is thought to be more than 1,000 years.

The only other comparable item is a vessel on display in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Lead archaeologist for HS2 contractor, Fusion JV, Dr Rachel Wood said the finds were “hugely significant” and “rare in the UK”.

EMBARGOED TO 0001 FRIDAY OCTOBER 29 Undated handout photo issued by HS2 of a parts of roman statues uncovered at the dig site at St Mary's Church, Stoke Mandeville. Archaeologists in Buckinghamshire working on the HS2 project have uncovered a set of incredible rare Roman statues and a hexagonal glass Roman jug, thought to be over 1,000 years old, whilst excavating a Norman Church in Stoke Mandeville. Issue date: Friday October 29, 2021.
Image: Archaeologists in Buckinghamshire made the discovery while digging on the site, which is on HS2’s route
EMBARGOED TO 0001 FRIDAY OCTOBER 29 Undated handout photo issued by HS2 of a hexagonal glass vase, thought to be 1000 years old, uncovered at the dig site at St Mary's Church, Stoke Mandeville. Archaeologists in Buckinghamshire working on the HS2 project have uncovered a set of incredible rare Roman statues and a hexagonal glass Roman jug, thought to be over 1,000 years old, whilst excavating a Norman Church in Stoke Mandeville. Issue date: Friday October 29, 2021.
Image: A jug thought to be 1,000 years old was found

“To find one stone head or one set of shoulders would be really astonishing, but we have two complete heads and shoulders as well as a third head,” she said.

More on Buckinghamshire

“They’re even more significant to us archaeologically because they’ve actually helped change our understanding of the site here before the medieval church was built.”

EMBARGOED TO 0001 FRIDAY OCTOBER 29 Undated handout photo issued by HS2 of a parts of roman statues uncovered at the dig site at St Mary's Church, Stoke Mandeville. Archaeologists in Buckinghamshire working on the HS2 project have uncovered a set of incredible rare Roman statues and a hexagonal glass Roman jug, thought to be over 1,000 years old, whilst excavating a Norman Church in Stoke Mandeville. Issue date: Friday October 29, 2021.
Image: A statue of a man and one of a woman were found and are believed to be over 1,000 years old
EMBARGOED TO 0001 FRIDAY OCTOBER 29 Undated handout photo issued by HS2 of the dig site at St Mary's Church, Stoke Mandeville. Archaeologists in Buckinghamshire working on the HS2 project have uncovered a set of incredible rare Roman statues and a hexagonal glass Roman jug, thought to be over 1,000 years old, whilst excavating a Norman Church in Stoke Mandeville. Issue date: Friday October 29, 2021.
Image: Archaeologists were digging along the HS2 route when they made the discovery

The discoveries at the church site, which is believed to have previously been the location of a Roman mausoleum, have been sent to a lab for specialist cleaning and analysis.

Dr Wood added that she hopes they will end up on display for the local community to see.

Around 3,000 bodies have been removed from the Norman church and will be reburied at a new site following the finds.

HS2 is a new high-speed railway that will link up London, the Midlands, the North and Scotland.

Its first phase, which will see links created between London and Birmingham, is currently undergoing construction.

In July, hundreds of rare Iron Age coins were found in Hillingdon, west London by archaeologists working on the HS2 route.

 Sky News

© Sky News 2021

Written by: Rother Radio News


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today28/10/2021