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Last Updated: Saturday, 29 April 2006, 15:09 GMT 16:09 UK
Dig team brought in to homes site
Coatham development
The project will create 200 jobs
Archaeologists have been brought in to investigate a Teesside site earmarked for a multi-million pound development.

Redcar's Coatham Links development will include more than 300 houses, a leisure complex and performance centre.

An archaeological team is to work in an area of the development site mentioned in the 12th Century as a settlement.

The settlements, known as Outstcotum and Westcotum, became a centre of salt manufacturing in the medieval period and supplied Guisborough Priory.

The team will include experts from Tyne and Wear Museums, who have already undertaken some preliminary work on the site.

Although little more is known about the site, an extension to the Stockton and Darlington Railway ran through the area in the Victorian period.

Fully recorded

Historically the coastline around Coatham had defences from World War II, which were removed and the subject of investigations in 2004.

Team leader Steve Speak said: "Any coastline was as attractive to prehistoric communities as it is to people today.

"Our work will ensure that if there is any evidence of archaeological remains being present, from the earliest times up to the fairly recent past, it will be fully recorded.

"Our team of half a dozen excavators are looking forward to working here and we hope to begin within the next fortnight."

The Coatham Links development is promised to create 200 new jobs, but has proved controversial amongst nearby residents.

Protesters have claimed the council has insufficient money for the leisure facilities and that the housing scheme is high risk.

The council has consistently rejected the concerns.


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