Mysterious Roman relics found in Burghley House car park are nearly 1800-years-old

ITV News Anglia's Stuart Leithes trekked to Burghley House to speak to the man who found the ancient artefact.

A Roman relic has been discovered in a car park construction site, prompting a century's old mystery.

The marble head of a Roman woman was discovered when a digger driver rolled over what he thought was just a "big stone" during work on an overflow parking area in April 2023.

Just two weeks later, its plinth was discovered near where the head was found.

It is unknown how the ancient artefact ended up at the car park on the Burghley House estate, near Peterborough. But, it is thought it could have been part of a botched burglary of the manor house.

Curators have cleaned and attached the two relics and put them on display in the stately home.

The head and bust have now been attached are on display in the manor house. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Greg Crawley, the discoverer of the marble head, said: "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.

"I've got a little boy, having it displayed in the house will be amazing. So I can bring him here and he can see what his dad found."

It is thought to be part of a statue which was targeted by burglars, but it could have also just been discarded and covered with soil.

Jon Culverhouse, a curator at Burghley House, said: "I can envisage her being stolen from the garden near the house and dropped off.

"She is jolly heavy so either two men carried her or a very strong one man. They probably tucked away under a tree and came back for it later.

"But he didn't or they didn't."

Blockbuster movie, 'The Flash' was filmed at Burghley House in 2023 Credit: ITV News Anglia

It is unclear as to how long the artefact has been buried in the car park, but experts say the sculpture originates from the First or Second century.

Excavated ancient fragments were adapted by Italian dealers in the 18th century and then sold to travelling aristocrats.

During one of the 9th Earl of Exeter's tours to Italy in 1760, it is believed he brought the sculpture back to his estate.

The find has been reported to the British Museum, which maintains a database of such discoveries.

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