THE site of the new Salford City Reds’ stadium has revealed unexpected treasures, after archaeologists unearthed evidence of a settlement possibly from as far back as the Bronze Age.
The archaeological evaluation of the site comes as part of planning conditions placed on the developers.
However, Red City Developments, have been quick to alleviate any fears among fans that these findings could cause delays to the stadium’s 2010 launch.
Ruth Garratt, from the Manchester Archaeological Unit, said: “The site was considered low potential but needed to be evaluated because of its setting close to the river system.
“We thought it unlikely to find anything and had no expectations going into the dig as it’s so unusual to find surviving early archaeology in the north west – most was lost during the industrial revolution.”
However, the team were surprised after their early evaluation of this site, adjacent to the A57, exposed ancient artefacts including a flint blade that is thought to have belonged to a Stone Age Salfordian hunter up to 8,000 years ago.
And a previously unknown settlement has been discovered at the site with the remains of post holes from Bronze or Iron Age houses and domestic waste such as fire-cracked stones, used to heat water.
Ruth added: “For those early people, it appears to have been a very desirable bit of real estate.
“We can’t say how big this settlement was at this time, but the archaeology we can see on the site probably dates from the bronze to late iron age, between 3,000 and 100 BC.”
Charcoal has now been removed from the site and sent for carbon dating, in order to get an accurate idea as to when the settlement was occupied.
In light of Salford’s most recent discovery, a more extensive dig is planned for the site with the archaeology team hoping that Red City Developments will fund a full excavation, which must take place before any landscaping or development goes ahead.
But, according to managing director of Red City Developments, Adam Thomas, any further excavation work that does take place will not cause any significant delays to the building project.
He said: “We are now working closely with the team to ensure the site is excavated and investigated fully to maximise the heritage benefit.
“We are assessing the implications, but as the area of most interest is at the entrance to the site and not where the stadium is actually being built, we are confident that the additional work will not significantly affect the building schedule.”