"First of its kind" Roman villa unearthed in Scarborough housing development

  • Video report by Rachel Bullock

Rare Roman remains have been discovered at the site of a new housing development in Scarborough.

The potential for Roman remains had been identified at the site in Eastfield, so archaeologists employed by the developer carried out excavations as part of the agreed planning conditions with advice from Historic England.

During the course of these excavations, it became clear that the Roman archaeological remains were far more significant than anticipated - with Historic England saying this type of building layout has never been seen before in Britain and could even be the first of its kind to be discovered within the whole former Roman Empire.

The excavations revealed a large complex of buildings including a circular central room with a number of rooms leading off it, as well as a bathhouse. Archaeology experts believe they are likely to represent a high-status luxury Roman villa or religious sanctuary, or perhaps a combination of both.

Working in partnership with Historic England, North Yorkshire County Council and Scarborough Council, the developer Keepmoat has modified its design for the housing development to protect the remains for future generations. In the original application, houses would have been built over the site, but the public open space within the development has now been relocated to cover and conserve the core of the Roman structural remains.