REMAINS of one of Scotland’s oldest farming communities have been unearthed by diggers working on the Capital’s tram line.
The archaeological gem – discovered on a narrow ridge near Edinburgh Airport – dates back almost 6000 years and contains traces of up to six different settlements.
And council experts said more could historic items could be dig up when the area – currently earmarked for development – is built on.
Council archaeology officer John Lawson revealed the tram works had allowed archaeologists to gain a “real slice through time.”
He said: “The excavations at Gogar have given us an important snapshot of how Edinburgh grew as it has given evidence from a wide range of periods, from early prehistoric Mesolithic hunter-gathering communities through to the medieval period.
“Possibly the earliest evidence was pits containing hazelnut shells, which may be from Mesolithic hunter-gathers.
“These were found alongside a range of pits and post-holes dating from around the start of the Neolithic period in Scotland around 3960BC, making it Edinburgh’s – and one of Scotland’s – first farming communities.”
Among the items discovered at the site are flint from the Neolithic period, small blades of Arran pitchstone, and small quantities of pottery from the Neolithic to the Iron Age.
City council culture leader Richard Lewis said: “This great city and its surrounds boast such an incredibly rich history that it can almost feel as though something headline-worthy is uncovered every time a spade is sunk into the soil in Edinburgh.
“Yet again, archaeologists have given us a fascinating insight into past civilisations who once called this place home.
“It’s amazing to think we now have evidence of Edinburgh’s first farming communities from the Neolithic era, some 6000 years in the past.”
The city’s £776 million tram system launched in May this year.