What The Hell Is Buried In This Half-Ton Coffin?S

Last summer, archaeologists unearthed this 1,000-pound lead coffin buried on the outskirts of Rome. Researchers don't want to crack open the sarcophagus, lest they harm whomever's inside. But shouldn't we be more concerned about its mysterious tenant harming us?

In the ancient ruins of Gabii 11 miles outside of Rome, a dig team found this massive lead corpse box. According to project leader Nicola Terrenato of the University of Michigan, this giant coffin is a rare and enigmatic discovery:

We're very excited about this find [...] Romans as a rule were not buried in coffins to begin with and when they did use coffins, they were mostly wooden. There are only a handful of other examples from Italy of lead coffins from this age - the second, third or fourth century A.D. We know of virtually no others in this region [...] A thousand pounds of metal is an enormous amount of wealth in this era. To waste so much of it in a burial is pretty unusual.

Ominous! The coffin could contain a Roman military or religious official, but Terrenato isn't certain. This lead behemoth will soon reside at the American Academy in Rome, where researchers will attempt to divine its contents using thermography and endoscopic cameras. If neither of these methods work, the coffin may be subjected to an MRI of cyclopean proportions.

So what exactly is in this mysterious half-ton pine - erm - lead box? Here are some totally implausible possibilities:

- Cthulhu Jr.
- Cthulhu Jr.'s lunch.
- Some poor sap who turned the frozen donkey wheel with a little too much gusto.
- The groaning dregs of the first Roman zombie outbreak.
- All the wickedness of the world (with a dollop of hope).
- Apparitions who get their rocks off melting Nazis' faces.
- A bored demon who has nothing better to do other than go to Washington D.C. and make little girls drop the F-bomb.
- Candy. Just a mind-blowing, shit-ton of candy.

[via University of Michigan]