WEEKEND shoppers explored Oxford’s hidden past at a dig under the town centre.

Managers of the Clarendon shopping centre who are planning a £6m revamp called in archaeologists after the discovery of the remains of a building from the 17th century.

Members of the public were invited to investigate for themselves on Saturday, and the Choudhury family from Woodstock went along. Sophia Choudhury, 12, said: “I had no idea what was underneath Oxford, it was very interesting.”

Excavators have dug through 17th century levels and are now reaching the Middle Ages.

Archaeologist Owen Humphreys said: “Hopefully after that we will find some medieval walls, we think we have already found a 14th century document pricker used for marking up parchment.

“It will be very interesting once we get down to the Saxon layers. Oxford was established as a Saxon settlement so there is a high probability we will find some remains.”

Once the excavation is finished, work will begin on expanding the Clarendon centre by 10 per cent, including the addition of fashion chain H&M.