A Roman settlement which boasts the most intact bath house outside Italy has been dubbed the 'Pompeii of the North'.
Rubbish that was thrown away by the Romans 2,000 years ago at Binchester, Bishop Aukland, has had the same effect as the ash of Vesuvius.
Excavations have unearthed artefacts dating back 1,800 years and include one of the earliest pieces of evidence for Christianity in Roman Britain in the shape
of a silver ring.
An inscribed alter dedicated to the Roman Goddess Fortune the Home-bringer has also been found.
The haul has been nicknamed the country's own Pompeii by archaeologists.
In the same way that ash from Vesuvius preserved an entire city after it erupted in AD 79, a similar feat has been accomplished in County Durham, by the means of a Roman rubbish dump.
A joint project to explore the site between the county council, Durham University, local enthusiasts and American university students has been in the pipeline for six years but excavation only began in June of this year.
Two weeks later they unearthed the artefacts and say they have merely scratched the surface of the site.