A substantial Roman settlement has been uncovered during work on a major building development in Flintshire.
The find at the Croes Atti project near Flint has unearthed a section of Roman road, pottery and evidence of an industrial complex processing lead and silver mined at nearby Halkyn Mountain.
The discoveries were made as groundwork began on an 180-house scheme.
A three-week exploration of the site is now under way, funded by construction firm Anwyl and the heritage body Cadw.
Andy Davies, Anwyl's technical director, said his workforce had discovered the proof that had eluded archaeologists.
"We uncovered the Roman remains quite early in the work," he said.
"We stripped the top soil away and found something straight away and we and have been working with local archaeologists since then.
"They believed there were Roman settlements in the area and archaeological work had been done here before but nothing had been found."
Metal detectors have been used on the site, turning up large quantities of lead, while other finds included high quality Samian ware pottery, made France, and exported all over the Roman Empire.
The pottery is believed to date back some 1,800 years.
Will Walker, of Earthworks Archaeology, said: "It's a fabulous find and it's on our doorstep.
"We have a remarkably well-preserved Roman road in good condition and the site is throwing up all manner of interesting things including a lot of lead, which suggests it was connected with the lead workings on Halkyn Mountain.
"The lead - and silver - would have been processed at this site, converted into lead ingots, known as pigs, and probably transported to Chester by barge and would have been used in the building trade for pipes and roofing."
As well as pottery and a section of road, archaeologists have also also found what is likely to have been a Roman building, with a corner structure and pebble-clay floor, burnt beams and post holes.
A lead-rivet repaired 'orangeware' vessel was also found in the structure.
Leigh Dodds, principal archaeologist with Earthworks Archaeology, added: "A large building was excavated further down the road back in the 1970s and that may have been the home of the procurator, the Roman official in charge of this settlement.
"Nothing had been found in this area but there is clear evidence of a settlement with buildings either side of the Roman road."