PLANS for a massive York dig and new Roman visitor attraction in Rougier Street will bring back memories for older residents of York’s Coppergate dig and the subsequent opening of the Jorvik Viking Centre.

The York Archaeological Trust began trial excavations in 1976 – and within weeks the remains of timber buildings and everyday Viking objects such as textiles, leatherwork and bone combs were being found.

The archaeologists discovered how residents made a living by making and selling goods, and also what they ate.

The five-year dig generated headlines around the globe and the media frenzy only intensified when the Jorvik centre was opened by Prince Charles in 1984. More than 200 journalists turned up from as far away as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

The trust had created an attraction which was more like a film set than a museum, and proved to be a huge boost to city tourism.

Instead of walking around looking at exhibits, visitors sat in specially designed time-cars, and moved around the ‘set’ of a Viking street, witnessing uncannily life-like figures bargaining arguing, singing and gossiping amid realistic - and sometimes disgusting - smells.

New standards of museum design were set which were imitated by museums all round the world.

The trust hasn’t yet decided on details of the new Roman attraction, which is being proposed as part of a £150 million redevelopment of Rougier Street which also includes a new hotel, apartments, offices, shops and cafes.

It isn't, for example, able to say whether it will also feature time cars or what it will be called, although it seems a fair bet that Eboracum - the Roman name for York - might feature in the name.

A spokesman simply said it would be a technologically advanced way of presenting the dig’s discoveries about Roman life in York.