From This is York comes an interesting application/diversion of the Bomb Squad:

WHAT do you do when you find a Roman sarcophagus and want to know what's inside?

Archaeologist Mike Griffiths called in the Army Bomb Disposal Squad.

The stone coffin - one of the first of its kind to be discovered in York for decades - was found during a dig in the Mount area.

It consists of a stone trough weighing up to three tons, covered over by a gritstone slab weighing at least another ton.

Mike, of Mike Griffiths And Associates, wanted to get an idea of what was inside before lifting the lid off - for example, whether there was a second lead coffin inside the stone one or there were any valuables buried.

Army experts from Catterick were happy to take a break from their usual military duties to help out.

Staff Sergeant Phil Morley said they used fibre-optic endoscopy equipment, similar to that used by hospital surgeons, to get through a tiny gap between the slab and the trough and see what lay within.

He said the equipment would normally be used to get a closer look if, for example, a suspected explosive device was discovered in an enclosed area, such as under floorboards.

On this occasion, the device found silt which had crept into the sarcophagus over the centuries, and some evidence of bones. He stressed that the squad had remained on call to deal with any emergencies throughout.

Mike said there was no evidence so far of any valuables buried with the skeleton, which would have been that of a man of some wealth.

He said the plan now was to remove the lid, and explore further what was inside. It would be decided later whether to remove the sarcophagus.