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1,700-year-old lead coffin found near Rome

An unusual sheet-metal coffin, made from a 360kg slab of lead, has been unearthed just outside Rome. [Thx Kristen]

The gravesite at Gabii, a once-thriving city-state located about 20 kilometres from the centre of old Rome, is prompting speculation by experts that a great gladiator, beloved bishop or some other notable figure from the third century AD was given the rare honour of a sheet-metal burial.

“All we can say so far about the contents is that the lead wrapping contains a human skeleton – or at least a portion thereof – as there is visible bone at the open, foot-end of the sarcophagus,” McMaster University archeologist Jeffrey Becker, managing director of the U.S.-led dig at Gabii, told Canwest News Service.

“Once we assess the contents, we will make a plan of how to study them, but we are interested in studying any human remains inside.”

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