THE discovery of large Roman remains have delayed the completion of a new main road in Swindon.

The Southern Connector Road will link Commonhead Roundabout and the site of the New Eastern Villages - but it will now be finished by next summer instead of this December.

Specialist consultants have worked extensively with the county archaeologist to minimise the impact on any known historic remains in the area. Several new items of archaeological importance have been discovered while work on the new route has been carried out.

Swindon Advertiser: The remains of the Roman structure from aboveThe remains of the Roman structure from above

These have been excavated and recorded. Some of the finds including a large rectangular building, a Romano-British trackway and smaller items such as arrowheads and bone pins 

In April, overall costs for the scheme had risen by £4.7m, but an extra £5.6m has been set aside in contingency funding for the scheme in order to allow for more archaeological discoveries, rising material and labour costs, and ground and ecological constraints.

Learn more about the local history and the intricacies of the archaeology on the council’s website:

Swindon Advertiser: An arrowhead found in a post hole, and a bone pin, typically used for women's hair in the Roman periodAn arrowhead found in a post hole, and a bone pin, typically used for women's hair in the Roman period

Coun Gary Sumner said: “We always knew there was a chance we would uncover additional Roman artefacts, despite the careful planning and design of the scheme ensuring the new road avoided the dense known areas of archaeology such as the Roman town of Durocornovium.

"But when you are working in a site such as this archaeology is very difficult to avoid entirely. We therefore have to build in this extra time to complete the scheme to ensure we can deal with any additional finds carefully and sensitively and, of course, we have to mitigate this risk by putting aside appropriate contingency funding. This is also at a time when costs are increasing across the board.

“We will be working extremely hard with the contractor to bring forward the revised completion date, while at the same time continuing to share any important pieces of Swindon’s Roman history as we go.

“I’d like to apologise to residents in Wanborough as it does mean that The Marsh will remain closed for a longer period of time to allow us to finish the scheme.”

The New Eastern Villages is one of the largest greenfield developments in the country. It will include 8,000 homes, new schools, employment spaces and community and leisure facilities, as well as accompanying infrastructure like the Southern Connector Road.