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2 February 2008
Prehistoric finds at British motorway dig

New evidence of prehistoric life has been discovered during motorway excavations in Merseyside (North West England). A team of archaeologists found flints and burnt hazelnuts during preparations for a new junction of the M62 road. The archaeological findings date from the Mesolithic to the Bronze Age periods - around 5000 to 2000 BCE. The pieces were found while the excavations were being carried out for a new link road at Junction six near Huyton.
     Ron Cowell, curator of prehistoric archaeology at Liverpool Museum, said the find is among the oldest in Merseyside, Cheshire and Lancashire. He said: "Discoveries of settlements like this are quite common in upland areas like the Peak District but in lowland places, which have been farmed for centuries and built upon time and again, it is very exciting." In total, the dig recovered more than 3,000 objects ranging from prehistoric to Roman.
     It was already known that the site had some archeological importance. Excavations in 1993 ahead of the construction of the adjacent A5300 uncovered part of a Roman farm. Other finds hinted at prehistoric activity in the area - now that has been confirmed. However, the site is not important enough to block the motorway scheme and it is once again buried - below the new 38m Junction 6 at Tarbock Island. Gary Hilton, Highways Agency project manager, said: "The Highways Agency takes its responsibility for our heritage very seriously and we are delighted to have found this window into the past." The artefacts will now go on public display at Liverpool's World Museum.

Source: TNN (29 January 2008), BBC News (1 February 2008)

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