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20 August 2003
Irish bypass site yields prehistorical findings

The site of the planned Dundalk bypass (Ireland) has yielded archaeological treasures dating back thousands of years. The Irish Archaelogical Consultancy is digging beneath the proposed route of the Dundalk western bypass which, when completed, would complete a network of high-quality road stretching from Dublin to the border.
     Archaeologists have uncovered settlements from the Neolithic (3,000-2,000 BCE) and Bronze Age (1,400-700 BCE) as well as more recent findings such as disused railways. There are 30 sites of excavation on the construction zone and these have so far yielded the remains of several ring forts, enclosures and burial grounds.
     Niall Roycroft, archaeological project mananger, said: "We have removed and recorded most of the materials on the sites and expect to be finished within a couple of months. We have found a couple of ring forts and early Medieval enclosures with burial grounds within the area which is available to dig on and we have found places where prehistoric people would have lived."
     Mr Roycroft said the work was being carried out on the 80-hectare site prior to construction of the bypass next year. Areas of archaelogical importance were identified last June in Gornard, Co Longford, but there have been no recent finds in Louth.

Source: Belfast Telegraph (19 August 2003)

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