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27 November 2003
Bronze Age site unearthed in Ireland

Archaeologists have discovered a Bronze Age settlement and a number of other significant finds on the proposed route of a multi-million euro bypass in County Cork (Republic of Ireland). National Roads Authority project archaeologist Ken Hanley confirmed that they had made a very exciting find near the village of Rathcormac.
     Pottery found on the site at Ballybrowney lower, one mile west of the village indicates it was inhabited around 1,600 BCE. The site had three large enclosures and was surrounded by timber defences which were probably around 10ft high. "A site of this type was unknown in Cork before this," Mr Hanley said. Inside the defences there is evidence of a home which was lived in by a high ranking person, he said.
     A detailed report has been sent to Dúchas who will decide where to extend the excavations. Some of the 65 archaeoilogists who worked on the project believe the site could be considerably larger. The site has been preserved in case of future research.
     A number of other discoveries have also been made along the 17km route of the bypass which will link Watergrasshill and Fermoy. The oldest site uncovered is Neolithic and dates from around 3,000BC. This was discovered at Curraghprevin, just south of Rathcormac. There archaeologists found what appeared to be a temporary encampment occupied by "a small hunter-gatherer unit". Mr Hanley said pottery had been discovered in pits and these items had been sent to specialists for analysis. Cooking pits were also found during the excavations.
     A total of 15 of these cooking pits or Fulachta Fiadh have been identified along the bypass route.
"The vast majority are Bronze Age and radio carbon date from 1,800 BCE to 800 BCE" Mr Hanley said.
Evidence of a Bronze Age cremation and burial was also found on a hill slightly south of the town of Fermoy.

Sources: Sean O'Riordan (19 November 2003), The Modern Antiquarian (27 November 2003)

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