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Rare Roman Mausoleum Unearthed in London

In the south London borough of Southwark, construction work uncovered a "completely unique" Roman mausoleum containing beautiful mosaic flooring.

The remains of the structure at the Liberty of Southwark site in Borough have been described as "extremely rare" and feature preserved floors and walls. Archaeologists think the site was used as some form of burial ground or tomb for wealthier members of Roman society.

The discovery was confirmed by the Museum of London Archaeology as “the most intact Roman mausoleum ever to be discovered in Britain”.

Roman mausoleum discovered on London building site
Credit: Museum of London Archaeology

"All signs indicate this was a substantial building," says MOLA, "perhaps two storeys high." Excavations turned up coins, pottery shards, and roofing tiles, as well as 80 Roman burials, likely used by the city’s wealthy elite. No burial coffins were discovered, however.

The area, near a tourist hotspot of Borough Market, London Bridge, and the Shard, London’s tallest building, has yielded Roman finds before, including another gorgeous and intact mosaic in 2018 and a Roman sarcophagus that went on display in 2017.

Roman mausoleum found in London
Credit: Museum of London Archaeology

The mosaic was the largest ever found in London, and was decorated with geometric, floral, and columnar motifs identical to one found in the German city of Trier.

“The rediscovery of this Roman mausoleum and mosaics is a testament to the rich tapestry of our past,” said Catherine Rose, a councillor for the London Borough of Southwark.

Antonietta Lerz, senior archaeologist at MOLA, says the site is a "microcosm for the changing fortunes of Roman London" and provides "a fascinating window" into the life of its settlers.

Landsec Developers can now begin their construction plans since the excavations have been concluded. The mausoleum will be restored to the best possible condition, and put on display to the public.


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