Roman remains may lie beneath Carlisle's former Lonsdale Cinema
The remains of a Roman cemetery and town could lie beneath Carlisle's dilapidated Lonsdale Cinema.
The building, which has been empty since 2006, "lies on the edge where significant Roman remains are known to survive", Cumbria County Council said.
The site, on Warwick Road, was bought at auction for £630,000 in October.
Its new owners have applied to Carlisle City Council to demolish it and replace it with 82 apartments and a car park.
The city council is set to discuss the scheme on Friday and its planning officers have recommended it be approved.
Now the county's historic environment officer, Jeremy Parsons, has said there is "potential" that Roman remains could be found on the site.
A council spokeswoman confirmed it had contacted the city authority and added: "If planning consent is given we would request an archaeologist to be present when the building is demolished."
Burge Halston, which bought the Lonsdale, is currently constructing a hotel on the old post office site, which is adjacent.