The Mersey Gateway Project

Ancient deer bones unearthed in the estuary

May 18, 2017Chris SealeyNews

Workers at the Mersey Gateway Bridge project have uncovered ancient bones of a red deer while excavating an area in the Mersey estuary.

The bones are thought to have been deposited in the silt at the base of the River Mersey more than 5,000 years ago, and have been sent to a laboratory for further tests and to be carbon dated.

The bones were uncovered at an area of the saltmarsh on the northern (Widnes) side of the estuary.

They were located close to where timbers from the Late Mesolithic period were discovered last summer.

Archeologists believe the bones are most likely to have come from a single red deer.

Victoria Pollard, Environment Manager for Merseylink, said: “A small quantity of vertebrate remains were recovered during the excavation of two bridge piers on the northern saltmarsh.

“The vertebrate remains were all of red deer and comprised four bones – metacarpal, metatarsal, radius and tibia – and a single fragment of a naturally shed antler, indicating a large adult male deer.”

Ms Pollard added that all of the bones may be from a single individual because they showed a similar degree of preservation.

“As the bones were found close to timbers from the Late Mesolithic period it is assumed that the bones are of a similar age, around 3,000 years BC,” she said.