Byline: By Tony henderson
The prehistoric homestead of some of the first farmers in the North-East has been uncovered in what is a discovery of national importance.
The Neolithic remains go back up to 6,000 years when the first people were changing from a wandering lifestyle to settled agriculture.
The excavation is at the site of a former RAF base at Milfield, near Wooler, Northumberland, which is now part of Tarmac's Cheviot Quarry.
The settlement is thought to be one of the largest to be found in Britain.
It had survived beneath the airfield buildings and was spotted by archaeologists holding a watching brief as the first soil was skimmed away in the gravel quarrying operation.
The dig, which ends today, involved Northumberland County Council experts and Archaeological Research Services, run by Dr Clive Waddington.
Dr Jonathan Last, head of research policy for prehistory at English Heritage, said: "To find the remains of so many buildings from the Neolithic period grouped together is incredibly important.
"This exciting discovery offers huge potential to improve our understanding of Neolithic ways of life in the North-East."
Dig director Clive said: "This is one of the most important sites of its kind to be discovered, providing an exciting opportunity to further understanding of Britain's first farmers."
Northumberland County Council archaeologist Sara Rushton said: "This is a major find and backs up what's already known about the significance of this area of Northumberland during the Neolithic period. …