Archaeologists working at Lincoln Castle have discovered the remains of an unknown church, believed to be around 1,000-years-old.
The team first found a cemetery with skeletons alongside the remains of two stone walls. Further digging found more graves, plus one stone coffin.
The archaeologists believe the burials belong to a stone church built after the Romans left, but before the Normans came.
The burials were found just three metres down from ground level, in an area just three by three metres, while excavating in order to build a lift shaft.
Historic environment manager at Lincolnshire County Council Beryl Lott said: “This is a very exciting discovery. Our knowledge of the site between the end of Roman period and when the castle was built is very scant.
“While the discovery was totally unexpected, it is well known that other Roman walled towns often contained some form of high-status use during the Anglo-Saxon period.
“This will greatly increase our knowledge not just of the castle, but of uphill Lincoln as well. It’s a major find and we look forward to future developments.”
The stone coffin is made from limestone, with the lid mortared in place.
Another interesting find was the bones of a person laid inside the wall foundation. The bones would have been wrapped in textile originally, as impressions of the cloth were spotted on the wall.
It’s thought that the remains are a deposit, most likely of a holy person, placed in the wall to dedicate the building.
The archaeologists will use radiocarbon dating to exactly age the discoveries, believed to be from the 10th century.
Visitors are welcome to take a look at the archaeologists excavation works around the Castle, some of which will eventually form part of an exhibition.