ARCHAEOLOGICAL excavations at a building site in Dorchester have uncovered remnants of the main Roman road through the town.

Experts have been digging at Bennett’s Court car park off Colliton Street, where two homes are being built as part of the redevelopment of the Stratton House former council office campus.

Mike Trevarthen, Peter Bellamy and their team from Terrain Archaeology have been working at the site for around three weeks and have discovered some fascinating traces of the town’s rich history dating back to its time as the Roman town of Durnovaria.

Mr Trevarthen said: “We have dug up the edges of what appears to be the main north to south street within the Roman town.

“We have got part of the road make up and several phases of road enlargement.

“We have also got the roadside drainage ditches.”

Mr Bellamy added: “The road itself would have been almost the first thing they laid out in the Roman town.”

He added that sadly there were no traces left of the road surface but it could still be clearly identified.

Mr Bellamy said previous excavations back in the 1930s to the rear of the Dorset County Museum had uncovered part of the street so they knew it went through the area but there was still no guarantee they would find it when they dug their test pits.

He said: “We dug one in the corner of the site and very quickly we came down onto the top of the road, we knew straight away that we had.”

While any traces of houses alongside the road appear to have disappeared, the dig has also uncovered Roman pottery and pins as well as a number of pits that may date back to Medieval times as well as the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Roman artefacts will eventually go to the Dorset County Museum.

Mr Bellamy said the team had been working hard to discover as much as they could about the archaeology of the site before building work begins.

He said: “The whole idea is to investigate and excavate enough to be able to understand what we have got here.

“It’s all about understanding and adding to the picture of our knowledge of the Roman town.”

Mr Bellamy said that the team would also be on hand as the footings are dug for the site to see if anything further is uncovered.

He added that the site’s developers had been “very accommodating”.