Archaeologists have uncovered Roman statues of a man, woman and child at an abandoned medieval church in Stoke Mandeville, Buckinghamshire, near the HS2 high-speed railway.
According to The Guardian, Rachel Wood, the lead archaeologist at the site, called the statues “utterly astounding.”
“They’re really rare finds in the U.K.,” she said.
“The statues are exceptionally well preserved, and you really get an impression of the people they depict – literally looking into the faces of the past is a unique experience.”
The statues, which will be sent to a lab for analysis and cleaning, were found at the ruins of a Norman church. Archaeologists have been working at the site for the past six months.
Wood said the statues “lead us to wonder what else might be buried beneath England’s medieval village churches. This has truly been a once-in-a-lifetime site, and we are all looking forward to hearing what more the specialists can tell us about these incredible statues and the history of the site before the construction of the Norman church.”
The church was built in 1080 and renovated through the centuries, but in 1880, the church was abandoned. Then in 1966, it was demolished.
Prior to the church, the location was used as a Roman mausoleum, experts say. Thus far, some 3,000 bodies have been unearthed and will be reburied at another site.
Archaeologists have been working at sites along the HS2 high-speed railway for years. At another site in Saint James’s Garden near Euston station in central London, experts found more than 50,000 skeletons in a former burial ground. At another site in Birmingham, more than 6,500 skeletons were unearthed from an 18th-century cemetery.