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10 October 2003
Bronze Age settlement unearthed in England

Archaeologists have unearthed evidence of a Roman road and Bronze Age settlement at a multi-million pound business and leisure park development. The dig at the 300-acre Gibfield Park site in Atherton (England) has revealed fragmentary remains of the badly damaged road, which linked Roman forts at Manchester and Wigan.
     A 10-strong team of archaeologists from Manchester University spent the summer excavating the former site of Gadbury Fold, off Atherleigh Way. Specialists will now study pottery and artefacts from the site and the finds will be donated to the town to add to its heritage.
     The Gibfield Park Project has started to create a 200-acre country park with footpaths, bridleways, wildlife habitats and grazing land. Developers funded the dig which began in August and revealed remains which include more than 700 years of continuous occupation, the Roman road and possible prehistoric remains.
     Assistant county archaeologist for Greater Manchester, Norman Redhead, said: "If this ditch does date to the Bronze Age, it would mean there was human activity in the area 4,000 years ago." Dig director Peter Connelly, said: "The existence of coal seams very close to the ground surface led the early pioneers of the coal mining industry to the area to carry out small-scale open-cast mining which shows the deep history of the mining tradition in Atherton."

Source: This is Bolton (10 October 2003)

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