Iron Age remains found at new Northumberland Line station site

Archaeologists have been given a glimpse into life thousands of years ago after uncovering some potential Iron age arteifacts

A discovery at the site of the new Northumberland Line station has given archaeologists a potential look into life thousands of years ago.

Wessex Archaeology, working on behalf of Morgan Sindall Infrastructure, have unearthed an archaeological site believed to be a settlement dating back to the Iron Age or early Romano-British period.

The site at Newsham is currently being prepared for construction of a new station and platform, which is aiming to be up and running by the end of next year.

Archaeological investigations have continued for a number of weeks in a farmer’s field west of the railway line and have revealed the presence of a rectangular enclosure, most likely a roundhouse.

Few artefacts have been discovered, but other features have been found within the enclosure and the evidence found suggests that it was in operation in the Iron Age.

Remains and evidence of the Iron Age has been found near the site of a rail expansion
Remains and evidence of the Iron Age has been found near the site of a rail expansion
Remains and evidence of the Iron Age has been found near the site of a rail expansion

Glen Sanderson, Leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “This is a fascinating snapshot into what life was like in our county thousands of years ago.

“We know Northumberland has a rich and interesting history and to see it close up is a real find.

“As we begin to create our own little bit of history in bringing back passenger trains to this line it’s worth remembering that progress and innovation is nothing new.”

The archaeological works are a planned part of the scheme and will not in any way delay or hinder the project.

Assistant County Archaeologist Nick Best said: “South East Northumberland is more typically associated with industrial heritage, including early railways and wagonways.

“This excavation reminds us that this area was part of a thriving agricultural landscape from at least the Iron Age until after the coming of the railways.”

Main construction work on the Northumberland Line is due to get underway this summer, with six new stations across 18 miles of upgraded track planned for December 2023.

Stations contractor Morgan Sindall Infrastructure said: “This is an exciting discovery, which enables us to capture and document the findings for future study.

“As part of our commitment to enhancing communities, we’re looking forward to working with local schools, in partnership with Wessex Archaeology, to further explore what life would have been like for these ancient communities”.