An estate in Market Harborough is likely to be hiding a surprising secret - a Romano-British settlement almost 2,000 years old.
The ancient settlement looks likely to be buried underneath the Brookfield Road estate, off Lubenham Hill in the town.
Archeologists working on the fields behind the estate, soon to be developed by Linden Homes, have made the historic discovery.
Senior project supervisor Daniel Connor, of Allen Archeology, said: “We’ve found mostly what looks to be the top end of a Romano-British settlement, dating back to the 1st to 4th century.
“The main part of the settlement, the actual structures, are probably buried underneath the 1980s housing estate, lower down the hill.”
Finds on the fields include a Romano-British oven, pottery fragments and a copper alloy mortar, probably used for grinding make-up.
There are also traces of an earlier Iron Age settlement, including pottery fragments.
Ten people have been working on the site, soon to be covered by the 119-house Linden Homes estate.
The estate is itself part of a 1,500 home band of new houses which will eventually stretch from Lubenham Hill round to the Leicester Road.
“Most of what we’ve found has been ancient ditches, field boundaries and field enclosures” said Mr Connor.
“It’s an interesting site, but the main settlement is already buried - I don’t think any archeology was done on the lower (Brookfield Road) estate.”
Archeologist Naomi Field, of Prospect Archeology, said that there was an open day at the site today (Thursday).
Tours will be conducted at 10am, 12pm and 2pm. Access to the site will be strictly from the footpath that bisects it, which starts from The Pastures, off Brookfield Road.
There is no parking at the site, and no access from Lubenham Hill.