IT'S a dirty job at Worcester's Cathedral roundabout - as a crucial archaeological hunt kicked off which could unearth a spring surprise.

Heritage experts have visited the site today to officially start work on a dig to see what lies underneath the island.

The work, part of a £1.1 million revamp which will see the roundabout shrink in size, is being done after the city council demanded that it must form part of the planning permission for the overhaul.

As your Worcester News revealed two weeks ago, there is a belief Roman remains are buried deep under the route including pieces of housing and maybe even a cemetery.

Last week workers on behalf of Worcestershire County Council were using machinery to test for the depth of CCTV cables, water and electricity ahead of yesterday's dig getting underway.

For the next 10 weeks up to five people will be seen digging and recording anything they see, although they are only expected to go down around one metre to avoid being obtrusive.

Fencing has also now been placed around the island.

Richard Bradley, project officer for Worcestershire's archives and archaeology service, who is leading it, said: "At the start of the work it'll be just me and a machine but eventually a team of four or five of us will be working together.

"We are only expecting to go a metre down - because of the nature of this we won't be going down particularly deep.

"We know in the 1960s a lot of buildings were destroyed and we also know there is likely to be items of significance there."

The area used to form part of a route called Lich Street, which was largely residential and led down to Friar Street.

A skip is due to be placed next to the island which drivers must detour around, but the county council says it is not expecting any traffic problems as a result.

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.