AN archaeological discovery close to Offa’s Dyke could be thousands of years old, it has been revealed.
Work to create a new car park in Brymbo near Wrexham recently came to a grinding halt after evidence of an old settlement was found just metres away from the early medieval monument.
Now the archaeologist responsible for locating what he believes to be man-made stone pits and charred pieces of seed, wood charcoal and grains said he thinks they could date back to the pre-historic era, before the dyke was built.
The discovery on land at the back of Cheshire View was made on the same road where Brymbo Man – the skeleton of a man who lived during the Bronze Age in around 1600BC – was found by workmen in August 1958.
Ian Grant from the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust has been overseeing work by Wrexham Council to alleviate parking problems in the area at the request of the historic environment service Cadw.
He said the pits were found while top soil was being removed ready to lay tarmac.
Ian said: “While we were monitoring the works I was looking to see if I could see anything associated with Offa’s Dyke, because it’s a big enigma and no-one quite knows when exactly it dates to.
“We didn’t find any nice bling or treasure, but we certainly retrieved material that you could date as there were lots of charred remains.
“What I suspect I’m looking at is an enclosure ditch or something associated with occupation on the summit of Cheshire View, which you shouldn’t be surprised at when you stand up here because it’s a stunning view.
“It’s a good spot for an Iron Age or Bronze Age site.
“My gut feeling based on similar archaelogical works that I’ve done in Wrexham is that it is pre-historic.”
Ian said the charred items have now been sent off to be tested in order to establish when they date from.
Brymbo councillor Paul Rogers previously described the find as “an important piece of the jigsaw” in the village’s history.
He said: “Obviously it has delayed the works, but the find has generated some interest in the community with a lot of residents feeling that it’s another positive piece of our history.
“It’s now just a case of awaiting the findings and once everything’s recorded and documented then works will proceed.”
The parking works are being funded by Wrexham Council’s housing environmental improvement scheme budget
A spokesman for the authority said the excavation work had been completed and construction works will start later this week.
Brymbo Man was found by local workmen who were digging a pipe trench near number 79 Cheshire View and uncovered a large capstone about one foot below the surface.
When archaeologists from the National Museum of Wales arrived to investigate, they excavated a stone-lined box in which they discovered the incomplete remains of a skeleton, a small earthenware pot and a flint knife.
Meanwhile, questions remain over the exact date when Offa’s Dyke itself was built after excavation work by the trust carried in September 2013.
Samples taken from a damaged section of the mound near Chirk found it was built after AD 430 at the very earliest, while the latest date places it between AD 887-1019.
By Liam Randall – BBC Local Democracy Reporter (more here on the LDR scheme).