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1 September 2004
Bronze Age settlement found on Vaux site

A missing link in Sunderland's history (Scotland) has been unearthed with the discovery of a 2,000-year-old settlement on the former Vaux Brewery site. Archaeologists have described the finds of the Bronze Age community on the city centre site as "significant". The dig was carried out as part of pre-development work on the site .
     Robin Taylor-Wilson, project manager at the Durham branch of Pre-Construct Archaeology, said : "It was totally unexpected to find evidence of a hitherto unknown Bronze Age settlement here." It was impossible to say its exact size at the moment, but Mr Taylor-Wilson said evidence suggested a wooden wall with houses inside it.
     Archaeologists found pieces of pottery that would have been used as drinking vessels, flint used as tools and worked bone. "One piece of bone may be a neck decoration or personal adornment, possibly a pendant." Burnt and charred seeds were found on the site and were dated as coming from between 2,480 and 2,280 BCE.
     The seeds were hazelnuts which could have formed part of an early Wearside diet, or perhaps be from natural or man-made forest fires along the riverside.Mr Taylor-Wilson said because of the landscape features, and being next to the river, the commanding spur of the Vaux site was an ideal place for pre-historic Britons.
     Work on the dig first began a year ago, but was halted when traces of asbestos were found. A report on the work will now go to the Tyne and Wear archaeologist as part of the on-going planning process that could see more extensive digs. It is too early to say whether this will disrupt work on the site.

Source: Sunderland Today (31 August 2004)

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