An ancient Roman village dating back almost 2,000 years has been uncovered in the north of the county.
The farmstead was unearthed in Higham Road, Burton Latimer, and archaeologists believe it would have been fully functional in the second century AD.
Artefacts including coins and jars have been found at the site and the skeletons of 30 Romans were excavated from the settlement’s cemetery.
Simon Mortimer, director of CGMS Consulting, the company in charge of the dig, said: “In 1954 someone found some Roman coins here so we knew there would be something here.
“The ironwork and bronzework we’ve found suggests these were wealthy people living here – we are certainly not talking about peasants.
“This would have been a sophisticated society and that shows because we’ve found some pottery imported from France.
“We’ve found absolutely everything we could find and more.”
More than 40kg of pottery was found at the site, along with bronze work including a foot thought to be from a statuette of a Roman god.
The oldest artefacts found on the site actually come from long before the Romans settled – neolithic flint spears thought to be about 4,000 years old.
They would have been used by people for hunting.
Mr Mortimer said: “It’s bizarre to think that there was more time between the neolithic period and the Romans than there was between the Romans and us.”
The site will soon be home to 248 new houses, with building set to start imminently.