Tyne & Wear

Iron Age settlement found at Newcastle's Brenkley Lane Mine

Workmen at the dig Image copyright Banks Group

Archaeologists working for a mining company have uncovered an Iron Age settlement near Newcastle.

The five-hectare site at the Brenkley Lane Surface Mine has been excavated by Headland Archaeology on behalf of Banks Mining.

The settlement, much of which is more than 2,000 years old, features the footprint of four roundhouses within an enclosure.

Artefacts and a cemetery have also been unearthed at the site.

Mark Dowdall, environment and community director at The Banks Group, said: "It's fascinating to see how this area was worked and inhabited through the ages.

"We've worked closely with archaeologists across many of our sites for several years to ensure that detailed investigations are carried out and proper records kept of anything of interest that's found."

The two-month-long dig has revealed a complex series of archaeological features and artefacts including stones used to process grain, a spindle whorl for weaving and ceramic pots.

An early Bronze Age cemetery, dating from between 2,100 and 750 BC, is represented by three cremations, while a period of medieval activity between 500 and 1,500 years ago is shown by a grain-drying kiln and extensive rig-and-furrow agriculture.

A full report on the findings of the Brenkley Lane dig is expected to be published next year.

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