TWO Roman stone sarcophagi have been found on the site of a former chapel and offices.

The discovery of the 1,800-year-old sandstone coffins in Newcastle city centre, represents the first such finds in the area for more than 100 years.

They are thought to have been used to bury members of a rich and powerful family from the adjacent walled fort of Pons Aelius.

The lid of one sarcophagus will be lifted by Durham University experts this morning.

The other sarcophagus has been removed from the site and opened. It contained the poorly-preserved skeleton of a child, aged about six. The tombs, the most significant find on the site, in Forth Street, were discovered by archaeologists from Durham University, who were hired by a development company wanting to build offices.

Other discoveries include cremation urns, a cobbled Roman road, which experts believe may have been part of the old main road from the South of England, a Roman well and a Medieval well, the remains of the foundations of Roman shops and homes, along with the remains of flint tools from Stone Age hunter-gatherers.

After analysis, all finds will go to the Great North Museum, in Newcastle.