St. Paul's Tomb Unearthed in Rome
The ancient tomb will now be on display for the first time in centuries.
St. Paul's stone coffin has been found beneath Rome's second largest basilica, but its contents remain a mystery, Vatican archaeologists announced today.
The sarcophagus dates back to about A.D. 390 and was uncovered in Rome's Basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls, named for its location beyond the ancient wall surrounding Rome's center.
(Related: "Roman Catacomb Find Boosts Early Christian-Jewish Ties, Study Says" [July 20, 2005].)
Long believed to be buried beneath the church's altar, the coffin is now on display for the first time in centuries—its precious cargo, however, is not.
"For now we didn't open the sarcophagus to study the contents. Our aim was to unearth the coffin venerated as St. Paul's tomb, not to authenticate the remains," said Giorgio Filippi, the archaeologist