KITCHENER -- Artifacts dating back thousands of years are being unearthed in Waterloo Region after a rare discovery during road work.

The historical First Nations artifacts include long houses, tools and even some animal remains.

The dig is on Fischer-Hallman Road. A previous dig uncovered six long houses in the area around three years ago. Archeologists had always planned to expand their dig, but had to wait until the region started construction on the nearby road.

Now that the road has been torn up, there are 25 archeologists working on the site.

"We’ve been able to find evidence of the site being preserved under the roadway," associate archeologist Barbara Slim said. "Usually in archeology, when you have a roadway, you assume that extent of disturbance would completely have removed the site. But in this case it did the opposite, it kept it under 1.8 metres of fill and four layers of asphalt.”

Some of the items date back to the 1500s, including pottery, petrified food and animal remains.

People from three different Indigenous communities, including Six Nations, have come to help identify the objects and give them perspective.

Archeologists said what they're learning goes well beyond textbooks.

"A lot of the time, we bring something out of the ground, they have something that goes well beyond numbers or what a definition of what that artifact is," field director Matthew Muttart said.

The region will build a temporary road around the site that will stay in place until the study is complete.

It's expected the dig will last into next year, with a suspension during the winter months.