Oxford archaeologists have discovered a large and significant Roman burial ground on the site of a gravel quarry.

Stunned experts had hoped to find a small farmstead at the site near Fairford, Gloucestershire, but instead discovered more than 100 graves.

Dr Alex Smith, of Oxford Archaeology, who is leading the excavation of the site, said it was a "very significant" discovery.

The burial ground is divided into two, with separate sections for adults and children a common practice in late Roman times.

Dr Smith said: "We stripped the top soil off about three weeks ago, expecting to find outlying bits of a Roman farm.

"Instead, we found 100 graves, which completely flummoxed us we certainly weren't expecting that."

He said the site believed to date back 1,700 years was one of the biggest in the region and was exciting because of its sheer volume.

Dr Smith said: "The farmhouse we think is on the site is not big enough to justify that amount of graves. It's the sort of size you would associate with a town.

"Our working hypothesis is that this was a communal burial site for all the outlying farms in the region."

The excavations at the site will continue until August.