Find will be preserved for public display
Excavations at an Allies & Morrison building site in London have uncovered a Roman mausoleum described by experts as “completely unique”.
The rare find at The Liberty of Southwark site, near Borough Market and London Bridge station, follow the discovery last February of some of the largest Roman mosaics unearthed in the capital for more than 50 years.
The remains of the tomb include walls and interior flooring, with a striking mosaic at its centre surrounded by a raised platforms on which burials were placed. The lowest entrance steps into the structure also survive.
Archaeological investigations were led by Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA), on behalf of Landsec and Transport for London (TfL), which owns the site, and Southwark council.
Developers Landsec and TfL, which are in joint venture on the scheme, have committed to restoring and retaining the mausoleum within the development for public display.
Antonietta Lerz, senior archaeologist at MOLA, said the discovery provided a “fascinating window into the living conditions and lifestyle” of the city in the Roman period.
She added: “This relatively small site in Southwark is a microcosm for the changing fortunes of Roman London – from the early phase of the site where London expands and the area has lavishly decorated Roman buildings, all the way through to the later Roman period when the settlement shrinks and it becomes a more quiet space where people remember their dead.”
When complete, The Liberty will provide more than 160,000 sq ft of new office space, as well as shops, restaurants, cafes, and flexible small business workspace.
The scheme also includes 36 new residential units, including 12 for social rent and a further four for discounted sale.