‘Incredibly Rare’ Roman Mausoleum Discovered In London
Liberty Of Southwark Site
Photo by James Manning/PA Images via Getty Images

The remains of a Roman mausoleum have been discovered in south London, and researchers believe it’s the most intact mausoleum of that type ever discovered in Britain, according to a report from BBC News. 

The “incredibly rare” mausoleum was discovered by archaeologists from the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) at an excavation site called Liberty of Southwark. Researchers believe the mausoleum may have been a wealthy family tomb, as it was once an impressive building that was likely two stories high, The Guardian reported

“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,” Antonietta Lerz, a senior archaeologist at MOLA, said. 

The mausoleum consists of a floor and walls with a mosaic at the center, according to The Guardian. Surrounding the mosaic is a raised platform, which is likely where burials were placed, the outlet notes. Additionally, the steps for one of the entrances were preserved. 

With the discovery of the mausoleum, researchers also retrieved pieces of scrap metal, pottery fragments, roofing tiles, and roughly 100 coins — but no human remains or coffins were discovered. There are two layers to the site; beneath the first mosaic lies another, according to the archaeologists, leading researchers to believe it could have been a two-story structure. Both mosaics feature a flower at the center. 

MOLA researchers say the find is the most intact Roman mausoleum ever discovered in Britain due to the incredible quality of preservation. They say that “all signs indicate this was a substantial building.” 


“It provides a fascinating window into the living conditions and lifestyle of this part of the city in the Roman period,” Lerz said. 

In early 2022, a Roman mosaic dating to the late second to early third century was discovered at the same development site. That mosaic, defined at the time as a “once-in-a-lifetime” discovery, was the largest found in over fifty years, according to The Guardian. Researchers believe that the location was once a lounge for officials. 

The Liberty of Southwark site is being developed as a shopping and living center, but one city councilor told The Guardian that the recent finds would be preserved and put on display for the community. 

“The rediscovery of this Roman mausoleum and mosaics is a testament to the rich tapestry of our past,” Catherine Rose, a Southwark council cabinet member, said.

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