GEOLOGISTS claim a fossilised tropical rainforest unearthed in Brymbo should be conserved and turned into an Eden Project-style tourist attraction.
Dr Jacqui Malpas said the site at the former Brymbo steel-works is of international importance and must be protected by a giant plastic dome.
She said a second dome could then be built with walkways through a reconstructed modern-day tropical forest - similar to Devon's Eden Project.
'This site is simply stunning,' said Dr Malpas who was funded by the Welsh Assembly to lead excavations.
'It's not just of Welsh importance, it's of UK and international importance. There isn't another site like it.'
A two-year excavation of the 500sqm fossil site has so far revealed 20 tree-like structures -some2min diameterandupto 3m tall.
Also discovered were a variety of horsetails and ferns, suggesting the forest was preserved in its entirety.
Similar fossilised sites have been found in the UK and Nova Scotia-the latter was studied by evolutionist Charles Darwin - but none are on the scale of the Brymbo forest.
Brymbo's ancient trees have been dated to the Carboniferous period, 300 million years ago -
well before flowering plants and the first dinosaurs-when Wales lay over the equator.
The discovery is the most important in the area since Brymbo Man - the partial skeleton discovered by workmen in 1958 and later dated to the early Bronze Age around 1600BC.
'Only 10-15% of the forest site has so far been excavated and Dr Malpas, of North East Wales Regionally Importance Geodiversity Sites, said it may yet hold more treasures.
But with her funding due to run out on March 31, there is a danger excavation work will have to stop.
Sheadded: 'TheBrymbositeis extraordinary. It has been visited by the British Geological Surveyand other experts and all have been amazed.
'But we're now reluctant to do more excavation and leave the site exposed to the elements. We've also been wary about publicity in case fossils are removed.'
The old Brymbo steelworks closed in 1990 and Parkhill Estates Ltd is building 13.5ha of housing in the area but leaving the 4.75ha heritage and fossil site untouched.
Andrew Foster, director of Parkhill's local subsidiary Brymbo Developments, sees advantages in linking the fossil site to the Brymbo Works Heritage Area.
He said: 'We're looking to develop the site into a visitor centre which would attract tourism.
'The centre would encompass the site's history from 300m years ago to the present day.'
The plans include conservation of John Wilkinson's 18th Century blast furnace, now a scheduled ancient monument.