Workers at the Mersey Gateway bridge project have uncovered ancient bones of a red deer while excavating a saltmarsh area on the Widnes side of the Mersey estuary.
The bones are thought to have been deposited in the silt at the base of the river more than 5,000 years ago, and have been sent to a laboratory for further tests and to be carbon-dated.
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.
“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.”
Merseylink is the consortium appointed by Halton Council in 2014 on a 30-year project to design, build, finance and operate the bridge. The group’s equity partners are Macquarie Capital, BBGI and FCC Construction.