THE remains of three near-complete Roman buildings discovered under a city centre park are to be unearthed for the first time later this month.
Scans using ground- penetrating radar appeared to show two large masonry houses and an unusually shaped third building dating back more than 1,000 years.
Civic leaders in Chichester hailed the discovery of the three properties – worth millions of pounds in today’s property market – as being of national historical importance.
Details about the find were revealed in January and now visitors will be able to watch the dig take place between May 27 and 29 before a series of talks on May 31.
Council archaeologist James Kenny said: “What’s remarkable about this discovery is that it has survived over 1,000 years in a currently occupied city.
“This is because they are under a park that has never been built on. It’s almost unique to see Roman houses survive in this type of setting and to be so complete.”
The discovery was made using radar equipment.
Following the results from the scans, a very small dig in Priory Park helped confirm the findings, leaving experts stunned.
Mr Kenny said: “This discovery is a unique part of Chichester’s, and this country’s history, so it is important that we make this accessible so people feel involved.”
Experts believe the houses were originally located on a street, which has not survived as a reservoir was built in the park during the Second World War.
The scans also revealed another Roman street running further east under Priory Park but this will not be uncovered.
District councillor Susan Taylor said: “This discovery is very exciting and is of national historical importance.
“We know this has created a lot of interest and so we are excited to give people the opportunity to visit the site and see the discoveries for themselves.”