Des Res for the Iron Age Family; Roundhouses in Top Location Are Unearthed

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Byline: Tony Henderson Environment Editor

OPENCAST operations have revealed the remains of at least 50 Iron Age homes in Northumberland.

The remnants of the roundhouses, in a two-hectare area enclosed by a ditch and bank, have been found at Banks Mining's Delhi surface mine on the Blagdon Estate near Seaton Burn.

It is one of the biggest settlements ever excavated by archaeologists in a single operation in the North East.

The job by Tyne and Wear Museums Archaeology took five months.

It backs the growing realisation that Iron Age populations in the region were not confined to the hillforts of the uplands.

It appears that communities were also spread quite densely in the lowlands.

In the past few years other Iron Age settlements have emerged during development at Newcastle Great Park and also at another Banks site at Pegswood in Northumberland.

And archaeologists are keeping watch as work begins on the Banks site at Shotton near the Blagdon operations. The Blagdon site is thought to have been occupied for up to 500 years, with a number of features showing how it evolved over that time.

Northumberland County Council archaeologist Nick Best said: "The relatively undisturbed nature of the site makes interpretation of what we've found there much easier, and being able to examine and record it all in such detail over many months has enabled us to gather a great deal of useful information on how people lived around 2,500 years ago. …