Archaeology open day digs into Iron Age past

Amateur archaeologists, historians and local people attended a special open day at the site of new houses in Hazlerigg.
Amateur archaeologists, historians and local people attended a special open day at the site of new houses in Hazlerigg.

An archaeology open day gave dozens of people an insight into the Iron Age past of a site earmarked for residential development.

As part of preparations for the creation of the new Hazlerigg residential scheme, North East employer Banks Property commissioned Headland Archaeology Ltd to carry out a full archaeological investigation on the site.

The Headland team has been excavating areas of archaeological interest on the site and has unearthed the remains of an enclosed Iron Age settlement, dating back more than 2,000 years.

Stains of 17 round houses and surrounding enclosure ditches have been uncovered, while both locally-made and imported pottery dating from the period has also been found.

Around 60 amateur archaeologists, historians and local people took a look at what has been discovered on site for themselves at a special open day organised by Banks, including guided tours of the archaeology by the experts from Headland Archaeology.

Banks Property obtained planning permission from Newcastle City Council earlier this year for the 462-home Hazlerigg scheme, which is located to the west of Hazlerigg village and to the south of Brunswick village.

Substantial areas of new accessible open green space will be created in the area as part of the development, as well as major investments in the Havannah, Three Hills and Big Waters wildlife areas and in a local red squirrel protection programme.

Dr Candy Hatherley, project manager at Headland Archaeology Ltd, said: “We had a very good turnout for the open day, with a real mix of people coming along despite the poor weather, and it was very pleasing for our team to see so much interest among local people in the archaeology that’s on their doorstep.

“We’ve excavated through the sites where the round houses would have stood to show a cross-section of the ground below them in which artefacts like animal bones and pottery fragments have been found, and we also had visualisations on display which showed what the houses would have looked like and how the settlement was laid out.

“We’re carefully recording everything that’s been uncovered on the site, and will be carrying out a full analysis of the soil samples and artefacts that we’ve removed to get a more accurate estimates of their age which will then go in our final report.”

Jeannie Kielty, community relations manager at The Banks Group, added: “We work closely with archaeologists across many of our sites to ensure that detailed investigations are carried out and proper records kept of anything of interest that’s found.

“The various discoveries that have been made simply wouldn’t be coming to light without the development work that’s facilitating them, and we’re pleased to have had the chance to give local people an insight into the work that’s been done.”