ROMAN and prehistoric artefacts discovered during the A1 upgrade works will go on display at a County Durham museum for the first time today.

The in-focus display, featuring everything from coins to a leather shoe, will open at The Bowes Museum, in Barnard Castle.

More than 200,000 objects were found by archaeologists working along the A1 between Leeming Bar and Barton over a period of three years as part of a Highways England scheme to install an extra lane in each direction.

Teams sieved more than 86 tonnes of sediment samples during the dig at the former Roman town of Catterick – then known as Cataractonium.

Recent finds include a rare carved gemstone depicting Hercules and the Lion as well as two apparently gold plated Roman objects which caused great excitement on site.

However, after being scientifically analysed it was proved that, despite their glittering appearance, the boot spur was in fact brass plated and the brooch bronze plated which only made them appear to be gold.

Dr Elizabeth Foulds, of Northern Archaeological Associates (NAA), who carried out the dig, said the find was very unusual as most copper items lose their colour over time.

“When we learnt they weren’t gold we were a bit embarrassed but then we started to realise there was a story behind it because the spur was made to look like it was a much higher-status object than it was.

“Everyone would have had a brooch but someone took time to make it look extra special.”

The spur and broach are featured in their own special case in this display.”

NAA will put on a series of family activity drop-in sessions during the display’s time at the museum as part of the scheme’s community outreach programme.

Dr Jonathan Shipley, the AECOM Archaeological Clerk of Works involved in managing the archaeological works, said public engagement and outreach were central to the scheme.

“The important thing is the public get to know more about the history of their area,” he said. “Hopefully when this phase is finished we will know a lot more about the origins and end of Catterick.”

The drop-in sessions, which include everything from creating a paper mosaic to a Roman helmet, will run from 11am until 3pm in the museum’s Education Vaults and are free for children under 16 when accompanied by a paying adult. The display will run until March 5, 2017.