Construction worker stumbles upon 1800-year-old Roman statue in England

Construction worker Greg Crawley was carrying out renovations at a park near the historic Burghley House in England in April 2023 when he stumbled upon the head of an ancient 1800-year-old Roman statue, the historic site announced in a release earlier this month. 

Crawley discovered the head first while moving earth. The sculpture’s bust was discovered only a few weeks later.

“I had a real shock as the digger bucket rolled over what I thought was a big stone to reveal a face,” Crawley said. “When I picked it up, I realised it was a head of a statue. 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.”

Researchers dated the sculpture to the first or second century CE. 

It was found that an iron dowel had been attached to the sculpture years later, which the house said was a common adaption used by Italian antiquities dealers during the 18th century.

Apollo statue (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The Roman sculpture is believed to have been brought to the house during one of the ninth Earl’s two tours to Italy in the 1760s. The earl was known to have brought several sculptures back to the site during this period, however it is unknown how the head and bust ended up buried in the park near the site.

About Burghley House

Burghley House is a Tudor-era mansion dating back to the 16th century, located 90 miles from London.

The house was built by William Cecil, also known as Lord Burghley, whose descendants still live there today.

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