A RARE Roman settlement has been unearthed near Penrith, shedding light on the life and times of the region's ancient settlers.

The discovery on agricultural land in Bougham near the A66 - described by experts as a find of national significance - was made by water company United Utilities during initial excavations for a 7km Hackthorpe-Penrith wastewater pipeline.

The civilian settlement, or vicus, is believed to date back to the first century AD. It features the remains of two timber buildings, cobbled lanes and three stone buildings, and a very rare Grubenhauser - a sunken feature building from the early medieval period.