Evidence of human activity dating back to Roman times has been found at a city farm as part of a volunteer-led archaeology study.
Experts believe the survey has unearthed remains of an Iron Age or Romano-British settlement at Whirlow Hall Farm in Sheffield, and the discovery has caused considerable excitement.
A rectangular enclosure formed by a ditch was revealed during a geophysical survey commissioned as part of a Lottery-funded project at the site.
Karl Taylor of Archaeological Research Services, which undertook the survey, said the discovery could be hugely significant as no other settlements of such an early date have been found within the city.
He added: “The results of the survey go to show just how valuable geophysics can be as a tool for discovering archaeology that would otherwise have lain undetected. This discovery pushes back farming at Whirlow by at least 2,000 years and will provide new information on Sheffield’s early history.”
Excavations on the enclosure are due to start later this month, with volunteers carrying out much of the work under the guidance of trained archaeologists.
A series of field walks have also been organised as part of the Whirlow Hall project which began in April.
Those walks have yielded a collection of more than 1,000 finds including flint tools from the Mesolithic and Early Bronze Age.
Staff at Whirlow Hall farm said once the project was complete, all the findings would be used to create a heritage trail and a programme of walks and talks detailing the area’s history.
Anybody interested in volunteering on the dig should call Archaeological Research Services on 01629 814540.