The remains of Matthew Flinders, a Royal Navy explorer who led the first circumnavigation of Australia and is credited with giving the country its name, have been discovered during excavation at the HS2 station site in Euston.
Archaeologists discovered the remains while excavating the site in preparation for the HS2 stage one London to Birmingham route.
Flinders was buried in 1814 but following Euston’s expansion westwards into part of the St James burial ground in 1840, his headstone was removed and his remains thought to be lost.
But archaeologists have been able to identify his remains by the breast plate placed on top of his coffin, which is one among 40,000 buried at the site.
HS2 head of heritage Helen Wass said: “The discovery of Captain Matthew Flinders’ remains is an incredible opportunity for us to learn more about the life and remarkable achievements of this British navigator, hydrographer and scientist.”
Captain Flinders is most renowned as the commander of the HMS Investigator, which he navigated around Australia’s coast and became the first person to sail around the country in its entirety, confirming it as a continent. He is credited with giving the nation of Australia its name.
HS2 chief executive Mark Thurston said: “How we build HS2 is as important to us as what we are building, which is why we are committed to sharing as much of our cultural heritage as possible.”