A housing estate is set to reveal an ancient secret which has been hidden for almost 2,000 years.

Houses built in Greater Leys in Oxford were constructed on top of ancient Roman remains, which are to be made public for the first time this summer.

Artefacts from a large-scale pottery industry were found while the estate was being built 15 years ago, but have remained in storage ever since.

Historians believe the production site could have been one of the most important pottery plants in the country, exporting across the Roman Empire in the 2nd and 3rd centuries.

Now the remains of the ancient pottery trade are to be taken out of the Oxfordshire County Council Museum Resource Centre in Standlake and back to the estate to prove Greater Leys' historical roots.

Kate Toomey, of the Museum of Oxford, said: "It demonstrates the origins of the city, rather than the traditional view that the University established Oxford.

"Oxford wasn't particular big in the Roman period. Abingdon was quite an important town at the time, but the Blackbird Leys area was a really important site for Roman production and must have produced a staggering amount, judging by the amount of pottery found in the area. They must have exported pottery across the country and possibly abroad."

The main site existed between what is now Fry's Hill and Acacia Avenue. Although there is little evidence of a settlement, it is believed the workers lived at the pottery plant.

Roads, including Pottery Piece and Emperor Gardens, were named to reflect the estate's rich heritage. Many kilns and evidence of coal fires and animal bones were found on the estate, but archaeologists remain unsure how far across the estate the pottery plant reached.

Oxford City Council has agreed to fund a community project to increase awareness in Roman archaeology.

More than £10,000 will be spent on taking the pottery remains into local schools throughout July and allowing students to keep boxes filled with artefacts.

A two-day Roman festival will be held at The Farmstead in Greater Leys in August, featuring re-enactors, mosaic making and archaeological digs.

A day of archaeology will be held at Pegasus Primary, Windale Primary and Orchard Meadow Primary Schools.

Around £78,000 has already been spent on archaeological digs in Greater Leys, funded by housing developers.

Historically, Oxford is not particularly ancient compared with many cities across Britain. It was developed by the Anglo-Saxons, then blossomed under the Normans.