|13 May 2003
Isle of Wight town dated back to Bronze Age
Evidence has been found dating the settlement of Isle of Wight town of Newport (United Kingdom) from the Bronze Age 4,500 years ago. Previously the earliest evidence indicated a Roman origin.
Contractors working on the foundation of a town house development in Crocker Street have described a string of discoveries as the peeling away of layers of an onion. An extensive vaulted cellar made from chalk and dating from the 16th century was one of the first finds, followed by remains from the Tudor and Stewart periods when excavations went further. Then much earlier artefacts archaeologists have described as significant and exciting turned up only a few weeks ago: shards of flint, pottery, and evidence of the Bronze age diet including oysters. Most importantly, beneath the remains of medieval dwellings was the discovery of post-holes, more than likely the remains of Bronze Age roundhouses.
Samples have also been taken to show what the environment was like in 2,500 BCE.
Archaeologist Kevin Trott, who has been employed for the past two months by Garth Properties to protect artefacts uncovered at Crocker Street, said "The cellar was previously well known. It had been used by Mew Langton [garages] as a wine cellar and by Newport Gun Club. Fragments of earlier evidence had been discovered in the past but there had been no previous firm discoveries to date Newport to the Bronze Age. But the location, close to Newport Quay, would be a very logical place for people to have settled at that time. After finds were excavated from the trenches they are being analysed to help build up a picture of how Newport was and how the town developed. The rest of the site will be sealed beneath the new houses."
Source: Isle of Wight County Press (9 May 2003)
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