ARE Roman remains like old pieces of houses and even a cemetery buried deep underneath Worcester’s most famous roundabout?

Archaeological experts are about to have a major hand in a £1.1 million revamp of the city's Cathedral island - with digging work about to start to try and find Roman remains.

The long-awaited project to create the new-look Cathedral Square kicked off today, with workers putting machinery onto the surfaces around the island to test for the depth of CCTV cables, water and electricity.

An initial three-day investigation started at 9.30am this morning, resulting in partial lane closures around the island until 3.30pm, a process which continues at the same time tomorrow and Wednesday.

This coming Monday the actual archaeological excavation will launch, culminating in a mammoth 10-week effort to try and find historic remains.

Experts in the city say they believe Roman finds, such as old pieces of houses and even a Roman cemetery, may be buried deep underneath the ground.

The current traffic island used to be residential and as recently as the 1960s was known as Lich Street, with rows of properties leading down towards Friar Street.

Richard Bradley, project officer for Worcestershire's archives and archaeology service, who will lead the dig, said: "The work now is about testing the depth of CCTV cables, water and electricity before we go in next week, hopefully from Monday to do the archaeological excavation.

"Looking at where the roundabout is, we know there are going to be archaeological features that will exist.

"Given its history we'll be looking for any Roman deposits - there could be medieval remains, old stone walls and pieces of buildings in and around there.

"What happens over the years is that with an urban landscape, things get built on top of other things and over hundreds of years, the ground gets higher to where it stands today."

He said the digging is only expected to go down around one metre, but if they went deeper it could potentially reveal finds like a Roman cemetery.

If they find anything, it will be formally recorded as an archaeological find.

The county council says next week a "small section" of one of the traffic lanes around the island will be closed off to house a skip.

The revamp will see the Cathedral roundabout shrink in size to create a giant piazza-style open space for people to relax in.

The plan, due for completion by the summer of 2016, is being funded with around £400,000 of county council money, up to £400,000 from the city council and £300,000 from investors Salmon Harvester, which is revamping the nearby Cathedral plaza shopping centre.