LONDON, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- A display of artifacts unearthed by a team of 60 archaeologists during a road-widening scheme in northeast England are to go on display to the public for the first time this week, it was announced Tuesday.
Among the exhibits to be shown at the Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle is a selection of what were first thought to be objects made from gold by Britain's Roman conquerors.
Archaeologists thought they had struck gold when they unearthed the items, but scientific analysis proved that despite their glittering appearance, a boot-spur was brass plated and a brooch was bronze plated. The Romans, it seems, had used a mixture of metals created intentionally, experts believe, to appear like gold, experts said.
Kamal Badreshany from Durham Archaeomaterials Research Center, said: "Though the objects appear to be gold, we were very surprised by the results of the X-ray analysis which confirmed them to be composed of copper and plated with two different, lustrous copper alloys."
"The smiths were obviously trying to imitate gold and, interestingly, the analysis shows they were able to do so using two very different recipes attesting to their high level of skill," he added.
Archaeologists worked along the main A1 national route for three years alongside road builders as part of a project by Highways England to install lanes to upgrade the route to motorway standard.
They uncovered more than 200,000 prehistoric and Roman artifacts and sieved more than 86 tons of sediment samples. Their most recent finds include a rare carved gemstone depicting Hercules and the Lion, and coins, as well as the apparently gold Roman objects.
Jane Whittaker, head of Collections at The Bowes Museum, said the finds unearthed represent the great wealth of evidence of Roman occupation in northeast England, adding: "The public will have the opportunity to appreciate the craftsmanship as well as the lives of this most fascinating culture."
Archaeologist Jonathan Shipley, said: "The archaeological excavations undertaken as part of this scheme represent a mammoth undertaking, and have greatly enhanced our knowledge of the area through the study of the spectacular remains encountered."
Highways England project manager Tom Howard said: "It is fascinating to discover that nearly 2,000 years ago the Romans using the very latest technological innovations from that period. We are doing the same thing today, using the latest technology to improve this important route and significantly reduce journey times."
The exhibition, "Cataractonium: Unearthing Life in a Roman Town," will run from Nov. 26, 2016 and continue until March 2017.