A rare Roman Cupid figurine was found among artefacts dug up by archaeologists carrying out survey work for the A417 Missing Link in Gloucestershire.

The almost 2,000-year-old figurine depicting Cupid, the Roman God of love, pictured here, was discovered along with a bow-shaped brooch, and a Roman or early Saxon skeleton.

The skeleton and artefacts were found along the proposed 3.4-mile stretch of the new A417 Missing Link route near Birdlip.

Michael Goddard, Highways England Senior Project Manager for the A417, said: "The archaeology works we are undertaking along the A417 give us a significant insight into life on the site thousands of years ago, providing a unique glimpse into the past.

"It’s fascinating to see that Romans would have lived in the area in a similar way to how we do today – drawn to the area’s stunning beauty, something we are aiming to maintain with this landscape led scheme.

"It’s also fascinating to see that the Romans also left offerings to the God of love to keep them happy and help shape their own lives – with Cupid now a staple of Valentine’s Day celebrations all over the world."

Jim Keyte, archaeology lead for the project, added: "The area of the project is rich in history, and the existing A417 largely follows the former Roman Road between Cirencester and Gloucester; Birdlip itself has its origins as a Roman settlement.

"It has been fascinating to reveal more about the area and the people who once lived here. Our investigations will continue as the project progresses, and we expect more interesting discoveries to come."

The A417 Missing Link improvement scheme is located on land which was intensely utilised during the Later Iron Age and Romano-British periods – with a major Roman road and a number of Iron Age and Roman sites recorded across the wider area.

While the most significant find was the figurine of Cupid, the brooch discovered at the same settlement also gives an insight into daily life as a Roman, who would have used the brooch to fasten their cloak to keep out the wind that still blows strongly across the landscape. The brooch is ornate, and shaped like an archer’s bow- it’s likely that the owner would have been quite wealthy.

The skeleton has proved a little more unique though. Oriented north to south, archaeologists consider that it is unlikely to be Christian, meaning the remains date to either before 4th Century Roman or early Saxon (5th-7th Century).

Researchers were also baffled by the fact the remains were buried face down; potentially suggesting the mystery person was not well liked, for instance a criminal.

However, the team will never really know as the skeleton will be left in situ and not studied further.