An archaeological dig is to start in Bradford woodland later this month, thanks to a heritage lottery grant.

A cheque for £24,300 has allowed the Friends of Buck Wood to dig for proof that an Iron or Bronze Age earthwork exists at the Thackley site.

But conservationists say they are more likely to uncover a buried rubbish tip than buried treasure.

It is already known the woods were once home to a medieval mill and an open-air school for sick children during the first years of the 20th century.

Dr Christine Alvin, of Friends of Buck Wood, said: “The Bronze and Iron Age people weren’t a rich culture so we’re not expecting to find buried treasure.

“They were the original recyclers, making use of what they had and using it over and over again. Whatever we find there will be interesting, rubbish heaps can be very revealing!

“We’d like to prove that there was a settlement there.

“It would be an extra bit of the jigsaw to build up a fuller picture of what early life was like in Bradford and the Aire Valley.”

A detailed ground survey starts on Sunday, February 22, with help from volunteers including pupils from nearby Immanuel College.

Archaeologist John Buglass will be in charge of the project which follows on from a discovery made possible by an earlier Lottery grant in 2006, when historians investigated Buck Wood’s past.

The ground survey is expected to last a week with those helping being trained up on the dig site by Mr Buglass.

A team of archaeologists will also be carrying out a geophysical survey, using the type of equipment and techniques familiar to viewers of Channel 4’s Time Team.

Once all the survey's findings have been looked at it will map out prime sites for a series of trial excavations in the summer.

The area to be investigated deep in the wood is on a flat piece of ground the size of a football pitch.

It features a raised platform and what is believed could be the remains of a simple rectangular-shaped stone shelter.

Volunteers will be invited to return in the summer to help with the dig before the oval-shaped patch of woodland is returned to its natural state.

“We were completely surprised when we were told that there might be such a significant early site in Buck Wood,” said Dr Alvin.

“We knew there were the remains of small-scale, more recent industry in the wood, such as quarrying, millstone-carving, and maybe charcoal-burning, but had no idea that there could be anything so old.”