VOLUNTEERS digging on a North Tyne farm have uncovered items including jewellery believed to be from the Iron Age.

The excavation, which took place at Rattenraw Farm in Redesdale, was organised as part of Revitalising Redesdale’s Lost Redesdale community archaeology project, and saw 53 volunteers of all ages taking part.

Their finds included fragments of pottery, a whet stone for tool sharpening, part of a quern stone for grinding grain, ironworking slag and over 50 coloured glass beads from a necklace or bracelet.

The type of artefacts found are typically associated with the late Iron Age and Romano-British period and are approximately 2,000 years old.

The excavation also revealed areas of extensive stone paving, consisting of large flag stones, positioned on top of an earlier cobbled stone floor, suggesting the settlement was lived in by successive generations and was altered and updated over time.

Richard Carlton of the Archaeological Practice, who directed the excavation, said the investigation had confirmed results which had been discovered elsewhere in Redesdale, but it also revealed more detailed finds.

He added: “The significance of these, in terms of dating the site and understanding its function, will be more apparent following full analysis of artefacts and other materials found there, but it certainly has the potential to make a very significant contribution to the understanding of the later Iron Age in this part of the Borders.

“The excavation was made particularly enjoyable and worthwhile by the participation of many local people as well as the encouragement and full support of the landowners.”

The excavation followed archaeological surveys which had been carried out on the farm over the last 18 months, thanks to support from the owners and led by members of the Tynedale North of the Wall Archaeology Group (NOWTAG).

Revitalising Redesdale heritage and engagement officer, Karen Collins, said: “It has been a very exciting dig. We uncovered features we had not expected to see such as the stone flagged flooring – and finding the beads was a real highlight. It has gone beyond all our expectations and everyone involved is understandably very pleased with the results.”