Archaeologists have made some “exciting” discoveries during a dig at Exeter Cathedral.
The discoveries have transformed the understanding of the original building, which dates back to the 12th century, and are “the most exciting” ever made at the cathedral.
The excavations are being carried out in the cathedral’s Quire area to better understand the building’s Norman roots.
Following investigations in the Quire, archaeologists believe they have uncovered the foundations of the original high altar from the early 12th century.
Behind that, they have found a sunken area which they believe may have been a crypt under the building.
“Thought to have been filled in around 1300AD, this new discovery changes our understanding of the original Norman building, which was thought to have been built without a crypt,” Exeter Cathedral said.
The most exciting discoveries, however, are a pair of empty tombs discovered by making cuts into the backfill.
The team believe these tombs belonged to bishops Robert Warelwast, who was the nephew of the cathedral’s founding bishop William Warelwast, and died circa 1155, and William Brewer, who died in 1244.
“This is surely the most exciting archaeological discovery ever made at Exeter Cathedral,” the cathedral said.
The dig is now being wound down ahead of essential conservation work and other changes to the building which were due to start this week.