Archaeologists excavating near the edge of Trafalgar Square in London have found evidence of early Christianity in England, suggesting the area has a much older religious significance than was originally believed.
The treasure hoard in the empty grave consists of a gold pendant inlaid with blue-green glass; glass beads and fragments of silver (possibly a neck pendant); and two pieces of amethyst, possibly earrings.
The empty grave, judging by its treasure, and several of the other early graves in the cemetery are estimated to date from the time that Bertha was Queen of Kent – 590 to 610.
The excavations have also revealed a second mystery. At least one of the other graves was pre-Anglo-Saxon and dates from the very late Roman or immediate post-Roman period. The burial, in a stone sarcophagus, was also Christian – like virtually all the others – but was 200 years older.
This raises the possibility that the site had Christian links long before the conversion of Anglo-Saxon England, possibly as the location of a small church or mortuary chapel built there in the very late Roman period, immediately before the Anglo-Saxon pagan conquest. This would mean St Martin-in-the-Fields is London’s oldest surviving ecclesiastical site, predating St Paul’s by some two centuries.
An Israeli archaeologist says he has found the tomb of King Herod, the ruler of Judea while it was under Roman administration in the first century BC.