A LOST Roman palace lies beneath a forgotten wartime bunker in York and could contain priceless treasures, according to a leading archaeologist.
Paul Bidwell, who is an expert in reconstructing Roman remains, has spent a year studying sites in York in preparation for a major exhibition on Emperor Constantine which opens in the city's Yorkshire Museum at the end of this month.
The display marks the anniversary of Constantine being proclaimed emperor in York in AD306.
The transfer of power to Constantine on the death of his father was believed to have taken place at the legionary headquarters near the site of a statue by the south wall of York Minster.
But Mr Bidwell, head of archaeology for Tyne and Wear Museums, believes it actually happened at the lost governor's palace by the ramparts of the Bar Walls facing York railway station.
Three bunkers were dug into the ramparts in 1939 for air raid shelters and workmen unearthed what was thought to be the remains of a Roman bath, but no further excavations took place due to the war.
Mr Bidwell, who was involved in reconstructing part of Hadrian's Wall, is convinced the 1939 finds are from a huge palace which may have covered up to 10 acres and stretched to the Ouse.
"There could be untold treasures lying here," he said
City Archaeologist John Oxley said: "The south west bank of the Ouse was highly developed in the Roman period.
"There hasn't been any significant development there in the past 15
years which we could target to get an archaeological excavation carried out."