Historians in Towcester are calling for recently-discovered Roman remains to be preserved in a manner that will attract visitors to the town.
Last month archaeologists discovered the remains of a Roman building and a road while completing survey work before the first phase of the Moat Lane regeneration project gets under way.
In addition to the remains of a Roman youth and signs of a defensive ditch which once protected the town, archaeologists found footings for what they think could be a two-storey building and the surface of a Roman road which connects the building to Watling Street.
The area is about to undergo a £70million regeneration including new council offices and civic building, homes, cafes and restaurants.
The site of the most substantial finds behind Victoria House is currently allocated for commercial use in the regeneration project.
Members of the Towcester and District History Society have been writing to the South Northants Council (SNC) leadership calling for the remains to be preserved in a way that leaves them on show to the public.
Society chairman John Morris said: “What is of particular interest to someone like me who has had a connection with Towcester most of his life is that we know it is a Roman town but this is the first time in my years that anyone has seen something that is appreciably Roman.
“We feel it will be very sad if it has to be covered up again.”
Mr Morris said they envisage the finds being preserved on site, or moved to somewhere like Towcester Museum in White Horse Yard.
Mr Morris said they recognised the proposal would be technically and financially difficult to achieve, but he added: “The remains are within a few yards of the civic building and they want to attract people to whatever else might be in Moat Lane.
“We feel it will be cost effective in the long term by creating interest in historic Towcester.”
Rupert Fordham, councillor for economic development and regeneration at SNC said: “We are looking at whether it is going to be possible to preserve the Roman walls and other finds at Towcester in some way, and if we can we will.
“I’m afraid however that we can’t make any promises, as the site is going to be developed and it is likely that any preservation will be expensive, and money is very short.”
Last month dozens of people visited the site as part of an open day and were treated to a display of the most recent finds, which included a copper-alloy Roman key on its first public appearance since being lost between 1,600 and 1,800 years ago.