The discovery of a Christian burial site in Maryport changes the history the of the Roman town.
When excavation work started on Camp Farm adjacent to the Senhouse Museum archaeologists believed they were looking at late Roman buildings. Their recent find of four graves and what appears to be a church shows how life evolved after the fall of the Roman Empire.
Site director Tony Wilmott said the find uncovered 'Maryport's missing centuries' and is of national significance.
The graves are believed to have been from the 5th or 6th century. The team to be able use the fragments of teeth and bone found buried to accurately date the site using carbon dating.
The team, made up of archaeologists, volunteers and students from Newcastle University, hope by the end of the dig to find what the building was and clarify its significance.