Pristine Roman ruin unearthed at Southwark site


The ‘monumental tomb’ discovery comes after last year’s unearthing of the largest Roman mosaic in London at the same site.

The Liberty of Southwark site.
Credit: Landsec.

Archaeologists from the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) are leading the investigation on the mausoleum at The Liberty of Southwark. 

Developer Landsec and Transport for London (TfL) own the site and aim to restore and retain the structure for public enjoyment in the future mixed-use development. 

Inside the discovery 

Upper mosaic of the mausoleum. [Credit: Landsec].
Upper mosaic of the mausoleum. [Credit: Landsec].
The mausoleum includes walls and interior flooring, with a mosaic at the centre surrounded by raised platforms that held the tombs. 

After several modifications in its lifetime, the evidence indicates that the structure was around two storeys high, requiring large buttresses in the corners for support. 

The mausoleum has a raised tiled platform bonded with a hard-wearing and pink waterproof pink mortar called opus signum

Lower mosaic of the mausoleum. [Credit: Landsec].
Lower mosaic of the mausoleum. [Credit: Landsec].
This platform organised burials around three sides of the mausoleum parallel to the walls. 

Along with the structure, excavators found more than 100 coins, scrap metals, and fragments of pottery and roof tiles. 

The area immediately surrounding the mausoleum includes more than 80 Roman burials

Next steps in the development 

MOLA has completed its excavation of the site ahead of construction.

Spanning more than 15,000 sqm, the Liberty of Southwark will include the following: 

  • Office space. 
  • New homes (including 36 residential units, 12 for social rent and four for discounted sale). 
  • Retail and restaurant provisions. 

Local architects Allies and Morrison designed the building, and John F Hunt is the main contractor. 

Landsec and TfL expect to open the site at the end of 2026. 

“These extraordinary finds add great significance to the already culturally rich location of The Liberty of Southwark,” said Marcus Geddes, managing director for Workplace at Landsec. 

We’ll continue to work with MOLA to preserve and protect the mausoleum and mosaics and to display them for the enjoyment of the public and our future office and retail customers”. 

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