EAST Lothian Council was forced to call a halt to work at a Musselburgh park following a 1,900-year-old archaeological find that has been described as "the most significant find of its type in the last hundred years".

The redevelopment of the cricket pavilion at Lewisvale Park was put on hold after workmen uncovered two Roman altar stones (see picture), with one dating from the second century.

As the pavilion lies partially within a Scheduled Ancient Monument area, permission to undertake excavations for the building foundations and to lay services into the pavilion was required from Historic Scotland.

This permission was approved on the condition that a programme of archaeological work was carried out.

During the work, the two stones were unearthed along with a number of other archaeological features such as a lead bowl, pottery and some rough handmade pottery. The artefacts have been taken away by a specialist company for further investigation following their discovery last month.

Councillor Paul McLennan, cabinet member for community wellbeing, said: "The discovery of these remains is particularly exciting as it is not often that Roman altar stones are discovered during an archaeological excavation in Scotland.

"This helps with the emerging picture of life in and around the Roman fort at Inveresk during the second century. 2010 will be an exciting time to be involved with the heritage of Musselburgh given the opening of the new Musselburgh Museum and the increased awareness of the Battle of Pinkie." A spokesperson for Historic Scotland said: "Inveresk is one of the most important Roman sites in Scotland, containing a large Roman fort and a civil settlement with a bathhouse and amphitheatre.

"The discovery of two almost intact carved Roman altars in Lewisvale Park is the most significant find of its type in the last 100 years of investigation and discoveries at Inveresk." Work on the new cricket pavilion has now been allowed to restart following the discovery.