Lincoln Castle archaeologists to extract sarcophagusContinue reading the main story
Archaeologists are preparing to extract a sarcophagus discovered at Lincoln Castle and thought to contain "somebody terribly important".
The stone sarcophagus, believed to date from about AD900, was found alongside the remains of a church which was previously unknown.
Archaeologists have been on site for almost a year and their work came to an end this week.
They believe the sarcophagus could contain a Saxon king or bishop.
Archaeologist Cecily Spall said: "There's lots of careful planning to do in the next few weeks but as I say we do hope to get it out and have a look inside.
- A Roman fort was built at the site in about AD60
- The Romans abandoned Lincoln and Britain in AD410
- William the Conqueror built Lincoln Castle in 1068 on the site of the Roman fortress
- For 900 years the castle was used as a court and prison
- Lincoln is home to one of only four surviving Magna Carta copies
"Logistically it's quite a difficult job because the trench is deep and the sarcophagus obviously weighs a lot."
Lincoln Castle is being refurbished and the archaeologists have been digging where a new centre to house the Magna Carta will be built.Ice skates
As well as the sarcophagus, several other human skeletons were found alongside remains of the church, which is thought to be at least 1,000 years old.
Ms Spall said: "It's very unusual for archaeologists to encounter a church which hasn't been detected in historical documents."
The team also found remains of a stone Roman townhouse, which is thought to have been demolished in the 9th or 10th Century.
Some of the finds will go on display at the castle.
They date from the 4th Century up to the 20th Century.
The older artefacts found include pottery, cooking pots, animal bones, ice skates, and dice made from animal bone and antler.