NANTWICH'S historic credentials have received a boost following important archaeological finds along Welsh Row.
Archaeologists said the town can lay claim to being one of a handful of major Roman settlements in Cheshire.
The current work by National Grid engineers to relay gas pipes had initially unearthed a medieval track way running adjacent to Welsh Row.
But further down in the black organic goo' archaeologists have now discovered a Roman road running across Welsh Row and down to a river crossing.
The work by the engineers is being scrutinised by Earthworks Archaeology, which has been working with the county council's archaeological manager Mark Leah.
He said: "There is what I call a black organic goo' that underlies this part of the town, made up of a thousand years of household debris and ash from the salt mining industry.
"This can be as much as three to three and a half metres deep and fortunately has helped to preserve some of the remains.
"The work on the East side around Swinemarket revealed scraps of leather, wood and animal bone.
"But on the West bank of Welsh Row at the junction with St Anne's Lane, a wooden track way was found about a metre down.
"This seems to be a forerunner of Welsh Row and fits in with what we know as wooden gutters were used to channel rainwater.
"Tree ring dating of a piece of the track by Earthworks has found that it dates back to medieval times."
But since then a deeper excavation at the junction of Welsh Row and Wych House Bank has revealed another road running crossways to Welsh Row.
Mr Leah said: "This was nearly three metres deep and involved wooden logs or planks laid upon gravel.
"It appears to be a Roman road running down to a river crossing and is likely to link up with the Roman road discovered at Kingsley Fields.
"This confirms that there was quite a large Roman settlement or small town in Nantwich and it was probably salt making that drew them to the place.
"There is no doubt that Nantwich has an important Roman history and was one of the five or six major Roman settlements in Cheshire."
It appears the Romans invented the "corduroy road" too!