Archaeologists have unearthed ancients bones during an excavation of the site of the former Slatters Hotel in central Canterbury
The bones are believed to come from either the Roman or Saxon era.
Staff from the Broad Street-based Canterbury Archaeological Trust have spent almost eight months working on the St Margaret’s Street site.
They admit they are surprised by the find because the area was not thought to have been used as a burial site.
Slatters has been demolished in order to make way for a new hotel designed by architect Guy Hollaway.
The land around St Margaret’s Street has always been known to be of historical significance.
Housed in the former Waterstone’s basement, now Closs and Hamblin, are the remnants of Roman baths.
A Roman theatre is also known to have stood in the area.
Dr Alison Hicks has been the project manager at the Slatters dig.
She says archaeologists hope to use the latest discovery of bones to answer questions about the sorts of lives of people in Canterbury had been living at the time of their deaths.
The crew also unearthed a Roman underfloor heating system plus numerous pieces of pottery, but say they have not discovered anything of high value such as jewellery.
A piece of Medieval stone was also found and will be closely examined.
Following the archaeological investigation, work on building the new hotel can begin. A contractor is likely to be appointed next month and the work is expected to last 18 months.
The completed hotel will contain 130 bedrooms and a rooftop restaurant offering panoramic views over central Canterbury towards the Cathedral.
A well-known operator is understood to be lining up to run the new hotel.