THE coal mining history of a Tyne Valley town is being unearthed by a new project.

From September 9, a team of volunteers and professional archaeologists from The Archaeological Practice have been excavating Cockshott Dene in Low Prudhoe.

The site, near Prudhoe Castle, was home to a coal mine built in the 1870s, featuring extensive railway and coal working remains.

The two-week dig has been six years in the making.

It has finally come into being after receiving funding by the Land of Oak and Iron Heritage Lottery Landscape project, with assistance from Northumberland County Council.

The team have already uncovered a number of structures related to the former mine works.

These included complex water supply and power features, mine entrances, and a culvert structure.

The dig is seeking to identify and understand the context of the mine’s structures and their significance on working practices of the day. The workings were the creation of the Mickley Coal Company which had strong associations with the creation of the Catholic church in Prudhoe.

The site later became part of West Wylam Colliery, though it was abandoned long before the colliery closed in 1961. Karen Daglish, Land of Oak and Iron’s partnership manager, was excited by the discoveries.

She said: “Our volunteers led by experts have found brick built structures, including a large engine base, which probably connects to an adjacent shaft, which has been capped and is safe, and a brick culvert which was linked to the site’s reservoirs.

“These are exciting discoveries, and all help to paint a picture of our past, which has gone on to shape the area in which we live in today.”