A TEAM of archaeologists working in East Yorkshire has made more exciting discoveries.

The Evening Press reported last month how diggers excavating the site near Pocklington unearthed fragments of a human skeleton which almost certainly dated back to Roman times.

Now work has been extended after human remains were found that could date back centuries earlier, to the Iron Age, possibly around the year 300BC.

Archaeologists are almost certain a Roman-era skeleton and Roman pottery have also been recovered, in a dig which excited experts are already hailing as "significant".

The three finds came to light after work on a multi-million sewerage system upgrade by Yorkshire Water was halted, when it emerged the ditches could unearth historical treasures dating back thousands of years.

Paul Johnson, of Northern Archaeological Associates, is the senior officer at the Pocklington project.

He said: "We were due to finish at the site last week but we found a skeleton that could possibly be from the Iron Age, so we are staying on another week to investigate more fully.

"The three skeletons we have found are mainly complete but are fragmented. One of the Roman skeletons was complete apart from its head, which appears to have been ploughed off."

Mr Johnson said the skeleton that could be Iron Age looked like "someone going to sleep".

He said: "The skeleton is on its right hand side with its hands under its head and its knees crouched to its chin."

Mr Johnson said this may be evidence of an Iron Age burial ritual.

A quantity of Roman era pottery - dating back to between AD70 and AD410 - has also been uncovered scattered across the field, which archaeologists say is "reasonably high quality stuff".

Finds include half a bowl and, potentially, Bronze Age artefacts, including flint scrapers and broken blades.

Mr Johnson said early signs indicated that the unnamed area had been used as a settlement for a considerable period.

He also said there was evidence of ritualistic activity in the area, and pointed to a collection of Iron Age monuments scattered around the area.

Yorkshire Water said work on the new £3 million water system was continuing around the dig. A spokesman added: "We take our responsibilities in this area very seriously."

Updated: 11:30 Saturday, September 11, 2004