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Rome - Archaeologists have discovered an ancient Roman sarcophagus in the central Italian Lazio region surrounding Rome. It is the second sarcophagus discovered during a dig being coordinated by the University of Michigan.

The sarcophagus was uncovered in the area of Lazio believed to the site of the ancient Roman city of Gabii, located 18 kilometres east of Rome.

Both sarcophagi - coffins typically adorned with sculptures or inscriptions - are made of lead and are believed to date from the 1st or 2nd century AD.

The first sarcophagus was unearthed in 2009 by archaelogists working on the same dig, the 'Gabii Project', which began in 2007.

According the site director, archaelogist Anna Gallone, the two sarcophagi are examples of a unique funeral rite found in Gabii.

The team of archaeologists gleaned information about Gabii during a 2007-2008 surface survey of the city, which was once a rival of ancient Rome.