ONE of Britain’s most famous archaeologists has visited an excavation uncovering secrets from York’s past.

Prof Mick Aston, former presenter of Time Team, dropped in at the dig between the Guildhall and Mansion House yesterday to meet staff from York Archaeological Trust and to look around the site.

Archaeologists have been excavating part of the Guildhall yard, the basements of the Mansion House, and an underground passageway leading to the River Ouse known as Common Hall Lane.

Prof Aston, who left Time Team after almost two decades earlier this year, said there was a wealth of York’s history to be uncovered.

“York has got everything from Roman to the present and everything is still there; it’s a gem.

“York is special because developers were not able to rip the guts out of it 30 or 40 years ago. Most of the towns and cities in England have been ruined, but not York.”

He said he would like to see the dig extended to uncover more of the area which falls between the legionary fort’s frontage and the river, and which could reveal fascinating details about the city’s history.

Items to have been found include expensive 18th century blue and white Delft tiles in the Guildhall yard, as well as a clay pipe and fragments of pottery and glass dating back to the 1720s, when the current Mansion House was being built.