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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 January, 2004, 19:19 GMT
Iron Age find at business park
Steve Speak, left and John Holmes with some the artefacts found at the NGP site
Steve Speak, left and John Holmes with artefacts from the site
Experts have uncovered evidence of Iron Age houses and pottery dating from around 100 BC at a major Tyneside development.

Residents at the Newcastle Great Park (NGP) development are learning about their Iron Age counterparts after the latest archaeological work on the site uncovered evidence of an ancient settlement.

Artefacts, described as being of significant archaeological interest, have been found since the works began over two years ago.

However this latest area to be examined has caused the most excitement.

More than 10,000 new jobs are being promised with the development of the massive park.

Quern stones

It is being created in three phases over the next 15 years to include more than 2,500 properties, as well as a wide range of commercial, retail, leisure, education and community facilities.

The 800m project will see 85,000 square metres of business space created close to the A1, north of Newcastle.

Senior keeper of field archaeology at Tyne & Wear Museums, Steve Speak, said: "This site, which is south of the new SAGE development, has produced not only pottery, but also so-called Quern Stones, which were used to grind wheat.

"The settlement shows three phases of occupation over a period of about 75 years.

"We know this because our calculations show that a house would last around 25 years before it started to deteriorate and needed to be built again."

Full excavation

Drawings of the site show a large round house about 10 metres in diameter, surrounded by an enclosure which was likely to be used to keep in livestock.

Also featured are the remains of houses from previous phases of occupation along with ditches used for drainage and the disposal of waste.

Tyne and Wear's county archaeologist is currently deciding on the scope of a full excavation of the site.

Mr Speak added: "The good thing about this area is that there has been little or no ploughing over the site which so often wipes out any archaeology under the soil.

"Any artefacts we uncover here should be of good quality and I feel we will get an informed idea of what life was like for the earliest inhabitants of Newcastle Great Park".

About half of the 1,200-acre park is being landscaped to create a mix of woodland and meadowland with hills, vales and rivers - all of which will be accessible to the public.



10,000 jobs promise for Tyneside
07 Oct 03  |  Tyne/Wear

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