ANCIENT remains dating back more than 7,000 years have been discovered near Newport.

Researchers from the University of Reading have uncovered 7,500 year-old worked flint ‘tools’, bones, charcoal and hazelnut shells while working at Goldcliff in September of last year.

The finds show that Stone Age people were more than just hunter-gathers, using fire to encourage the growth of plants, such as hazelnuts, crab apples and raspberries. The researchers believe these were all eaten.

Over the last two summers researchers have found Stone Age footprints at Goldcliff and new archaeological finds, including footprints of animals and birds, are constantly being made in the Severn Estuary.

Professor Martin Bell, head of the University of Reading’s department of Archaeology, said: "The 7500 year-old footprint trails show how the activity areas represented by flint tools and bones articulated together as parts of a living stone age landscape."

He added: "The footprints include those made by children, which is extremely exciting as the role of children tends not to be visible in the archaeological record."

"They show youngsters as young as four were actively engaged in the productive activities of the community."