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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 March, 2004, 21:33 GMT
Dig unearths ancient love affair
Grave found at dig
The plaque was found in the grave with the skull
A Roman tale of love and romance that took place in Kent in about 200 AD has been unearthed during an excavation.

Archaeologists working at the site in Canterbury uncovered the secret of the romance in a grave just as they were about to pack up their equipment.

The grave contained a woman's skull as well as the only complete marble plaque ever found in the area.

The team said the plaque would have been put beside the woman by her husband as a gesture of eternal love.

'Most faithful'

Paul Bennet, the director of the Canterbury Archaeological Trust, said: "This grave is special because of this object - this marble plaque.

"Burying a funeral inscription is unusual and you can just make out the letters, they mean most faithful."

Canterbury in 200 AD
The couple would have lived in the area 1,800 years ago

Archaeologist Richard Helm found the grave and has helped piece the puzzle of the romance back together.

Mr Helm said: "As I turned it over and saw the inscription, which looked very clear in the sunlight, I was absolutely amazed and excited.

The woman's identity is not known but it is thought she lived in the area about 1,800 years ago and may have been a potter.

The archaeologists also believe the plaque would have been the man's only possession and say it makes the tale more poignant.

Other historical finds unearthed during the dig included the remains of a Neolithic man, Roman brickworks and a silver trinket from the Saxon period.

All of the items will be displayed in the city's museum.

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