A sarcophagus containing the headless skeleton of an ancient Roman will go on display for the first time Thursday during an exhibition about a "hidden" period in London's history, curators said..
The exhibition at the Museum of London also features a Roman tile kiln and Saxon grave goods, as well as pottery from the site where the Roman man's remains were found.
The limestone sarcophagus containing the remains of a man who died in his 30s or 40s around AD 410 was found under Trafalgar Square last year during a building project at St. Martin-in-the-Fields church.
Curators said the find was "hugely significant" as his death dates from the time when Roman Londinium collapsed and the Romans abandoned Britain.
They said a clay pot dating from around AD 500 found at the site suggests that the Saxon settlement of Lundenvic, where Covent Garden is now located, was established at least 100 years earlier than was previously believed.
Other objects on display include jewelry, glass, and metal vessels, found in graves of people buried on the site after AD 600 who may have been Christians.
Francis Grew, senior curator at the Museum of London, said the man in the sarcophagus would have been wealthy and might even have been a "commuter" into Londinium.
"The man in the coffin may well have been living in a substantial Roman villa estate somewhere around Trafalgar Square - a big country house maybe with a little village, even, associated with it," he said.
The Reverend Nicholas Holtam, vicar of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, said the discovery of the skeleton was an eye-opener.
"When we discovered this find, it was extraordinarily moving, raising the possibility that St. Martin-in-the-Fields has been a sacred site for much longer than we previously thought," he said