A Roman settlement has been unearthed in East Yorkshire by workers laying a new water pipeline.
Yorkshire Water contractors made the discovery in a field between Haisthorpe and Thornholme while laying 25 miles (40 kms) of pipeline into Bridlington.
Archaeologists have so far uncovered coins, pottery, irrigation ditches and the bones of five babies at the site, which is thought to date from 100 AD.
Experts have described the findings as "significant" and work is ongoing.
Ben Westwood, who has been supervising the excavation, said: "We've had some nice imported pottery that's probably been traded into the area all the way from France in the 2nd and 3rd Centuries.
"We've also got evidence of industrial activity with metal slag and iron strips and nails."
Yorkshire Water spokesman Steve Parsley said a number of archaeological finds had been uncovered during the £12m project to upgrade the water system around Bridlington.
"Obviously when you're laying a pipeline there's always the chance that you could come across something significant," he said.
"The last thing we'd want to do is destroy it so the idea is that the archaeologists will follow us as we're digging."
I just realized this coverage from the Post is discussing the same discovery:
ARCHAEOLOGISTS in Yorkshire have stumbled across fascinating remains which are shedding new light on what life was like for ancient Britons under the rule of Rome.
The experts working along the route of a new water pipeline have discovered an ancient farmstead to the south west of Bridlington.
Its occupants kept cattle, sheep and possibly pigs and lived in wood-framed roundhouses which were only yards away from where children were buried in small, round graves.
So far five infant burials have been uncovered, including what is probably a foetus.
Archaeologist Ben Westwood said: "They are all buried in the same kind of area to the south of where the houses were, literally a few metres away.
"They are really buried within the domestic core of the settlement, keeping them very close to the centre of the village.
"Adult burials in this period were outside the confines of the settlement for obvious reasons.
"These baby burials for some reason were kept close to the houses.
"It hints at all sorts of things.
"My view is that it's evidence the difficult times people lived in, with high infant mortality."
Many dog bones have been found on the site – with a dog skull and jaw buried in the top of a ditch close to one of the baby burials – showing dogs were very much part of ancient Britons' lives.
There was also a wide variety of domestic and imported pottery, including high-class Samian ware. Smooth-surfaced and rich red-brown in colour, it was the finest tableware of Roman Britain.
The settlement had been lived in for centuries, with at least four phases of construction built on top of each other, between the 2nd and 4th century AD.
But everything was buried two feet under the pasture between Haisthorpe and Thornholme just off the A614 – and even the farmer did not have a clue what was there.
Archaeologists say you can now look at the field and see the ridge where the village used to be. "It is significant because it adds to the general picture of Romano-British settlements," said Mr Westwood, of Northern Archaeological Associates. "This is a native village, where native Britons were starting to adopt Roman ways and procedures.
"Just down the road at Harpham and Rudston there are rich Britons who started to build villas. Essentially this is a farmstead.
"It must have been a relatively successful farm because you have successive generations living there."
The new Yorkshire Water pipeline will destroy the roundhouses – but the finds will be preserved for posterity in the records.
Further work is going to be carried out on some of the water-logged deposits to find out what crops they grew. The skeletons will be reburied after further study.
Yorkshire Water is currently spending £12m upgrading the clean water infrastructure around Bridlington, including the construction of more than 30 miles of new pipeline.