Definitely an interesting one from the Hinckley Times:
A child’s coffin, believed to date from Roman times, has been unearthed at a field in Witherley.
The lead box, less than 1m long, was found by amateur treasure hunters using metal detectors on Sunday.
Archaeologists exhumed the coffin yesterday (Thursday) and transported it to Warwick for detailed analysis.
It’s the first find of its kind from the Leicestershire-Warwickshire border area – a stretch bordering the A5 known to have been of military significance during the Roman era.
Stuart Palmer, business manager for the appointed experts, Archaeology Warwickshire, said: “Everything points to the coffin being from the Roman era and it is the first lead coffin to be recovered from the area.
“It might be one of the few Roman burials recovered from the Witherley-Mancetter cross border region.
“We know quite a lot about the Roman military activity in that part of Leicestershire and Warwickshire but not a great deal about the indigenous population.
“This coffin might provide us with one of a very few opportunities to examine how those people lived.”
The artefact will undergo months of analysis and a report will highlight findings and recommend what should happen to it next.
Mr Palmer said it would be some time before the coffin was opened and only then in the presence of appropriate experts and in the right environment.
The coffin was found along with Roman and medieval coins by members of Digging Up the Past metal detector group.
Realising the importance of the artefact they alerted the police and kept nightly vigils at the site for fear of looters.
Club spokesman, David Hutchings, said: “As the coffin was found in a ploughed field it was probably only a matter of time before it was accidentally damaged by farm machinery, so it’s almost with a collective sigh of relief that such a significant discovery was made before this could happen and the coffin was lost forever.”
- via: Roman child’s grave unearthed in countryside near Hinckley (Hinckley Times)
There’s some nice photos of the little lead (?) box in the original article. I’m sure we’ll be reading some followups to this when they open it up …
More coverage from the BBC: ‘Roman child’s coffin’ found in Leicestershire