A small Roman rural cemetery containing six skeletons has been discovered at an archaeological dig in Enderby.
The human burials were found during an excavation at the new park and ride site alongside Iron Age, Roman and medieval finds including pottery, a denarius - a type of Roman silver coin, and a number of brooches.
Analysis of the skeletons, found close to the line of the former Fosse Way Roman road, will now take place to identify the gender, age at death, health and life style of the individuals they represent.
As the area has been cultivated since medieval times, the skeletons are in relatively poor condition
Five of the burials were found in shallow graves next to a pair of ditches that may represent an earlier track or a long-lived land boundary - a sixth grave was discovered on the edge of one of the ditches. Evidence indicates the cemetery is likely to date from the second or third century AD, whilst the track or boundary forms part of an earlier field system.
The work, commissioned by the County Council and carried out by University of Leicester Archaeological Services (ULAS), forms part of the development of the new £9 million facility, due to open in autumn 2009.
The records and finds, including the skeletons, will now be analysed by ULAS. The results will help clarify and add to current interpretations of the site and the wider area and will be included in a display at the park and ride terminal building.
Ernie White, Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: "This is a significant discovery. Individual burials are more usually encountered but rural cemeteries from the Roman period are not a common find.
"The findings are also intriguing as the presence of a cemetery also suggests the nearby location of an as yet unidentied Roman settlement site.
"If these remains had not been excavated as part of this scheme, it is likely that the on-going effects of farming would have led to the finds being lost."
* More work is planned to take place during the park and ride construction to monitor development in the vicinity of the Fosse Way. However, due to the unexpected discovery of human remains this will be extended to ensure removal and recording of any other skeletons in the unlikely event that they are revealed during the ground works.
* The current phase of archaeological investigation started in late June and ended in early August.