MORE than 70 Roman skeletons were discovered on the site of a former hotel in York.

The grade two listed building, formerly the Newington Hotel in Mount Vale Drive, overlooks Knavesmire and has been stripped back by developers to create seven new family houses.

During the renovation of the Georgian building, developers were surprised to find human remains, and the York Archaeological Trust were called in to assist with the recovery.

Developer John Reeves said the development had retained most of its original Georgian features, but the scheme had also involved some "interesting" elements.

He said: "The refurb has not been without its issues. To start with, there were over 60 Roman skeletons found under the old swimming pool, in what was an extension to the Roman burial ground further up Mount Vale. All had to be painstakingly removed, catalogued and investigated by the archaeological trust."

A spokesman for the York Archaeological Trust, said the find was not surprising, given the city's association with the Roman empire, and yielded dozens of finds.

He said: "The property is adjacent to a cemetery excavated by L P Wenham in the 1950s – one of the first Romano-British burial grounds to be fully published in this country and lies about 300m from Driffield Terrace, where a previous YAT excavation in 2004 and 2005 famously uncovered the graves of over 30 decapitated Romans, a number of whom were interpreted as possible gladiators.

"The excavations Lasted three months and 75 graves have been recorded by YAT. The graves were, for the most part, strikingly shallow – something that Wenham had also noted while digging next door – meaning that many of them had been damaged by ploughing throughout the medieval period and 19th century construction."

The spokesman said the cemetery was "demographically diverse", and included "men and women, and individuals of all ages from infants to elderly adults – although they seem to have been broadly of the same social class".

As for the objects found within the graves, Mr Scott said they included "a jet pin", while another individual "had been interred wearing some kind of copper alloy head ornament whose flaky, corroded remains had left a green stain on their forehead".