It was hailed as one of the biggest Roman discoveries for years – but only two days later vandals have caused damaged at the archaeological site in Scarborough.
Historic England said the remains of the ancient building, probably a Roman villa, might be the first of their kind ever uncovered.
That was on Wednesday (14 April). Now police have revealed that overnight that night someone gained access to the site and caused damage.
Fencing and the land itself were damaged, although it is not yet known whether anything was stolen.
A spokesperson for North Yorkshire Police said: “Our area’s rich heritage – dating back to when the Roman Empire was governed from York, and even earlier – is part of the reason why this is such a wonderful place to live and visit.
“Sadly, heritage crime can cause huge damage to assets of great historical interest. Indeed, the cost to communities of heritage crime is often immeasurable, resulting in the loss of artefacts to future generations.
“We need to work together to protect these sites, so that others can continue to enjoy them for many years to come.”
If you can help the police investigating the criminal damage, call 101 and reference 12210098319.
Keith Emerick, inspector of ancient monuments at Historic England, called the archaeological remains “a fantastic find and are far more than we ever dreamed of discovering at this site.
“They are already giving us a better knowledge and understanding of Roman Britain.”
Heritage Watch is a scheme in North Yorkshire and York which aims to fight crime and anti-social behaviour at heritage sites by improving communication between people who take a keen interest in heritage, those who live near such sites, and the police.
These people are likely to frequent areas of historical interest more often, and be able to notice anything suspicious or out of the ordinary in these areas.