Medieval artefacts unearthed at Berwick Infirmary

image copyrightNorthumbria Healthcare Trust
image captionAncient walls and fish bones have been amongst the finds

Medieval treasures have been unearthed by archaeologists ahead of work to create a new £30m hospital.

Ancient walls, pottery and fish bones, believed to date back 900 years, have been found during excavation work at 19th Century Berwick Infirmary.

Northumbria Healthcare Trust said it hoped the discoveries would provide details about the town's medieval past.

It added all finds were being carefully removed from the site, cleaned and analysed.

'Cottage industry'

Steve Collison, lead archaeologist from Northern Archaeological Associates, said: "From what we have found so far, we are hoping that we are going to be able to learn much more about medieval life in Berwick.

"The fish bones tell a story of a cottage industry, and smoking and selling fish, and speaking to the matron at Berwick Infirmary, her grandma's family used to smoke fish in their garden.

"So already, there are links between medieval and modern-day life."

image copyrightNorthmbria Healthcare Trust
image captionMedieval pottery was also unearthed

The hospital, which was built in 1874, is within the town walls, which were constructed in about 1296.

The new Berwick Infirmary, which will replace the current one, is due to open in 2022.

Chief executive for the trust, Sir James Mackey, said: "It is a real privilege to be able to give those who live in or are from Berwick the opportunity to learn more about their history, heritage and ancestors."

The trust had originally planned to build a new hospital and leisure centre at a different site but scrapped the move after public opposition.

While the old hospital is being demolished, departments are being moved within the infirmary, with patient appointments taking place in alternative locations at the site, the trust said.

image copyrightNorthumbria Healthcare Trust
image captionThe old infirmary was built in 1874

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