Washington, August 24 : Archaeologists have unearthed a bronze ring in West Durrington in the UK, at the site of a new hospice.
The ring was found by volunteer metal detector enthusiast John Cole, in a field off Titnore Lane, West Durrington, Worthing.
The site is just north of Northbrook College, which was built on the remains of a Roman villa.
According to a report in The Argus, archaeologists have also unearthed large quantities of Roman and prehistoric pottery after stripping away hundreds of tons of topsoil using mechanical diggers and dumper trucks.
They are currently concentrating on a 50m square area to the north east of the site - about a tenth of the entire area they will be examining over the next six or seven weeks.
Phil Emery, of London-based archaeological consultants Gifford, said that the ring was the first significant find and potentially very important, although its age still had to be verified by experts.
He added, "We have been finding quite large shards of Roman pottery and some Iron Age pottery, which is very soft and crumbly and therefore tends to be found in smaller fragments."
The pottery, and some worked flints, had been found roughly half a metre below the surface.
Workers armed with pickaxes, shovels, wheelbarrows and small trowels have contended with dust storms whipped up by strong winds.
As the search progresses, the archaeologists intend to involve the public, and especially schools, in a community dig overseen by Worthing Archaeological Society.
Archaeologists hope to find relics dating back almost 10,000 years to the Mesolithc period, which was shortly after the Ice Age.
Once the dig is completed, work will begin on the construction of a new St Barnabas House hospice to replace the charity's ageing complex in Columbia Drive, West Durrington.