MORE than 40 people gathered in the field behind St Peter’s Church in Minshull Vernon to take part in a community archaeological dig.

They unearthed a cross-section of the surface of a Roman road running from Whitchurch to Middlewich.

It turned out to be in fine condition, probably because this particular stretch had not been ploughed in modern times.

And the surface was so well preserved that it seems to have been accumulating water in the soil above it.

The would-be archaeologists, under expert guidance, found the cobbled road surface about 25cms below the surface.

The stones had probably been brought from a nearby stream or river.

The life and times of the Romans were brought to life by a Roman soldier who made a dramatic appearance.

He was able to explain why the road had been built and how important it was not just for transporting salt and other materials but also for maintaining Roman rule and civilization.

A piece of red earthenware also found in the dig is thought to be Roman and finds from other parts of Cheshire were on display in the hall.

Details of the finds are being reported to Chester Archaeology.

Reverend Philip Goggin said: “We were delighted to receive the whole-hearted participation of so many young people and adults.

“We believe everyone went away with a refreshed sense of history and tradition, and a greater sense of community.

“Many thanks to all who contributed to the success of the day.”