ROMAN ruins have been unearthed at the site of a new housing development near Selby.

The remains of what experts think could be an important Roman settlement have been found on the site at Turnhead Farm, Barlby, and North Yorkshire County Council heritage workers say they have found evidence of "a strong military or official presence and high-status structures".

County Councillor Don Mackenzie said: “A find such as this adds to the already rich cultural history of the area as well as to a wider knowledge of our county and country’s heritage.

"The county council’s Heritage Services has an intrinsic role to play in ensuring that procedures are followed to protect and preserve such treasures.”

The Heritage Services team was consulted as archaeological advisor by Selby District Council because records showed the site had evidence of archaeological features likely to date from the Iron Age and Romano British periods.

A geophysical survey revealed the remains of a settlement across the site and trenches were dug to find out more.

The archaeologists then found evidence of what they have called a strong military or official presence, as well as high-status structures. The location is strategically important, on a bluff overlooking the River Ouse and alongside the route that followed the river’s east bank. Occupation of the area is known to have stretched from the late 1st century to the late 4th century AD.

Archaeologists from MAP Archaeological Practice are now at work on the site and have found a wealth of high-status pottery, a timber-lined well and a Roman wooden tent peg. Even though site was destroyed in the late Roman period, the large amount of material left on the site will help then piece together the site’s function and history to be reconstructed and the finds will be deposited in a museum.

The work has been funded by the developer, Barratt/David Wilson Homes.