Roof block was part of Roman tomb

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EVIDENCE of a large monumental Roman tomb has been found by archaeologists in St Albans, Hertfordshire, writes David Keys.

Anthony Beeson, of Britain's Roman Research Trust, who is an expert on Roman architecture, has identified a sculpted stone in the town's Verulamium Museum as having come from the pyramidal roof of a great second or third century tomb based on one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the 140ft (42m) high mausoleum of Halicarnasus in modern-day Turkey.

The St Albans mausoleum appears to have been up to 40ft (12m) high and probably stood on Watling Street, just outside the north-west gate of Roman St Albans, a city known then as Verulamium. The newly-identified roofing block, now on display in Verulamium Museum, is decorated with sculpted bay laurel leaves. The pyramid-shaped mausoleum roof from which it came would have been covered with at least 10 tiers of this leaf design.

The stone block had been thought to be medieval.