A heritage centre could be built on the Northamptonshire site of a Roman settlement as part of a £4.1m lottery bid.
Chester Farm, a 40-acre site in Irchester, includes traces of Iron Age enclosures and a medieval town.
The county council, which owns the site, has received £135,000 of lottery funding to form a "detailed development plan".
Jim Harker, council leader, said the site was a "true heritage jewel".
The heritage centre could be built along with a countrywide archaeological archives store. Further excavation would also take place on the site.