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Volunteers and staff at Cirencester Hospital sarcophagusA stone sarcophagus, found in the grounds of Cirencester Hospital, is now on permanent display thanks to the hard work of local volunteers and community groups. 

The sarcophagus, which dates back to Roman times, was uncovered during the building of a new hospital wing in the 1970s. It was kept outside the physiotherapy department until the decision was made to put it on public display in the hospital grounds.  

The hospital’s Green Gym volunteers applied for funding from St James’ Place to arrange moving the sarcophagus outside, and then built a wooden shelter to protect it from the elements.

Andre Curtis, grounds consultant for Gloucestershire Care Services NHS Trust, said: “It’s been such a collaborative project – the hospital volunteers have worked with apprentices from St James’ Place to build the shelter, the Barnwood Trust helped with purchase of the timber, and Cirencester Town Council and the Corinium Museum have both contributed towards an information plaque.

It’s taken two years to complete this project, and we are thrilled to see the sarcophagus on public display.”

Matron Linda Edwards said “I’m delighted that this historical artefact is now on display for everyone to enjoy. This has been down the work of our wonderful volunteers and contributions from many local Cirencester organisations, who we cannot thank enough." 

There are a further five sarcophagi in store at the museum, uncovered by the Cirencester Excavation Committee in 1969, and various others were uncovered in the 19th and early  20th centuries.

James Harris, Collections Officer at Cirencester Corinium Museum, said "The work by the gardeners represents the great local interest in and real care of our Roman heritage. The shelter will make a genuine difference to the longevity of the sarcophagus."

 

22 September 2017