Mysterious 1,800-Year-Old Statue Found During Car Park Construction

Written by Camilla Jessen

Mar.13 - 2024 10:17 AM CET

Photo: Burghley House
Photo: Burghley House
A 1,800-year-old Roman statue was discovered during construction at a UK parking lot.

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In Lincolnshire, UK, construction workers unearthed a 1,800-year-old Roman marble statue of a woman's head at the Burghley House parking lot near Stamford.

The find occurred in April 2023 when Greg Crawley, operating a mechanical digger, stumbled upon the ancient relic. Experts have dated the marble head to the first or second century, with the bust it originally belonged to discovered two weeks later.

"I had a real shock as the digger bucket rolled over what I thought was a big stone to reveal a face. When I picked it up, I realised it was a head of a statue. I couldn’t believe it when they told me it was a Roman marble statue. It was an amazing feeling to have found something so old and special – definitely my best ever discovery," Crawley said.

The statue featured an iron dowel, likely added in the 18th century to attach it to a bust or pedestal, a common practice by Italian antique dealers to appeal to aristocratic collectors. It's believed that the ninth Earl of Burghley acquired the statue during his tours of Italy in the 1760s.

The circumstances of how the statue ended up buried remain a mystery, with theories ranging from an attempted burglary to accidental burial. T

he statue, depicting “the features of a beautiful Roman lady,” was promptly conserved and reassembled by professionals.

This significant find has been reported to the British Museum and will be displayed at Burghley House starting March 16, 2024, showcasing the history and beauty of this Roman artifact along with other pieces collected by the ninth Earl.

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