IT IS ALMOST time for new historic discoveries to be made by a community heritage project based in Cockenzie, now that a new dig location has been announced for next month.

The Waggonway Project by 1722 Waggonway Heritage Group will conduct the Waggonway Dig 2022 at the Coal Fauld.

The Coal Fauld is an area where coal was unloaded, graded and stored prior to its use in the salt pans.

Over three days from September 2 to 4, the team will excavate the area within the Coal Fauld area in Cockenzie, looking for remnants of the Waggonway from its 18th and 19th century phases.

A Waggonway spokesperson said: “We will be hoping to clarify where the Waggonway went within this area and how this depot might have functioned.

“Our thanks go to the owner of the land, who has kindly given permission to dig, and to the businesses adjacent to the site, who we will be working with in the coming weeks to ensure they are not disrupted by the archaeological work.

“As always, this excavation will form part of East Lothian’s Archaeology Fortnight, the annual celebration of history and archaeology which has been so popular in recent years.”

Last year, archaeologists discovered two sites of national significance – unlike any other in railway archaeology – which they said could “rewrite the understanding” of early wooden railways and salt pans.

Last September, archaeologists and community members from the 1722 Waggonway Project returned to the Tranent Waggonway, where the Waggonway path crosses the Prestonpans battlefield between Cockenzie and Meadowmill, where exploratory digs had been carried out, searching for remnants of the salt and coal industries which were the backbone of the country in the 17th and 18th centuries.

During the dig, in which archaeologists were aiming to find the original track-bed structure, the main trench revealed three wooden railways, each one lying immediately on top of the last in an apparent multiple early upgrade over a short period of time.

Consisting of crudely cut timbers, these upgrades included a change of gauge, from an initial 3ft 3in in the first phase to 4ft 0in in the second and third phases – modern railways are 4ft 8.5in. The discovery had been described as unlike any other in railway archaeology.