Artefacts dating from early prehistory up to the Roman period, including at least two smelting furnaces from the late Iron Age described as "the best example" of their kind in the country, have been found at a development site in Hayle.

The discoveries were uncovered at Godrevy Parc, Kier Living's latest residential development in Hayle. A team from the Cornwall Archaeological Unit, funded by Kier Living, also found tools belonging to some of Cornwall’s first farmers during the excavation, including a polished stone axe, a flint spear point and scraper, all dating from around 500 years ago.

They also unearthed pottery dating from the Roman period in the 3rd-4th century, including large vessels designed to transport wine and olive oil across the Roman empire.

However, it is the evidence for prehistorical metal work that is really exciting the experts. As well as the two smelting furnaces, which will be passed to specialists for analysis, the team has discovered a mysterious double-sided mould that may have been used for casting lead or tin ingots.

Geraint Piper, project manager, said: “We’ve been fascinated by the artefacts the team at Cornwall Archaeological Unit have found, and it’s great to be part of bringing the site’s rich history into public view. We’re looking forward to working with them as excavations continue and can’t wait to see what they unearth next.”

James Gossip, project manager at the archaeological unit, said: “These are findings which have exceeded expectations and have added a huge amount to our knowledge of prehistoric Hayle. It's amazing to think that a town so renowned for its expertise and innovation during the 19th century has an industrial past that goes back more than 2,000 years."