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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 May, 2005, 10:29 GMT 11:29 UK
Dig reveals clues to area's past
Medieval jug
An unglazed jug was dug out of a medieval rubbish pit
Artefacts dating back to the Bronze Age have been recovered during an archaeological dig on the site of new police headquarters in Middlesbrough.

Experts have found the site, on the former St Mary's Catholic Cathedral, has been used since pre-historic times.

Finds include a 4,000 year old flint tool and medieval pottery.

Excavations are now complete, and work on the new police building officially starts on Wednesday.

An initial small-scale investigation of the site produced more finds than expected, resulting in further archaeological investigations.

'Great metropolis'

Medieval remains were uncovered showing a small farming community existed in the area.

Middlesbrough expanded with the growth of the coal trade and the discovery of ironstone in the Eston hills, and later in the 19th century became known as the "infant Hercules" and "the greatest metropolis of the industry".

The oldest artefact uncovered was a small flint tool, which is estimated to be up to 4,000 years old and would have been used by hunter-gathers.

The dig is now complete and the area covered over, in preparation for building work.

Richard Annis, from Durham University's archaeological services, said: "What we've done is all one could do in the area here.

"Although it's hidden, frankly there's not much to look at, and it's more interesting to talk about and have the information to construct what would have gone on in the past."

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