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20 July 2003
5,000-year-old settlement found in Ireland

The Republic of Ireland's largest Neolithic settlement dating back to 2500 to 3000 BCE has been uncovered.
     A team lead by Dr Stefan Bergh of the Department of Archaeology of NUI Galway has been working on a plateau in the Brickleigh Mountains some 250 feet above Lough Arrow in Co. Sligo and discovered artefacts that link the site to the late Stone Age.
     Archaeologists have known about the site since 1911 when they mapped the 140 hut sites and enclosures, surrounded by cliffs and passage tombs. However, the settlement's age has remained a mystery.
     "This has remained one of the most enigmatic places in Irish history", explained Dr Bergh.
     A fortnight ago Dr Bergh and a small number of NUI Galway students uncovered a collection of cremated bones, animal teeth, charcoal, hazelnut shells, small pieces of pottery, small tools, including some concave scrapers and an Antrim flint knife, and black flint debris.
     "These finds are very significant for the time period and all date to the Neolithic period, although exact dates will not be known until the artefacts are carbon dated", Dr Bergh said.

Source: Belfast Telegraph (17 July 2003)

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