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10 April 2004
New study to discover ancient coastal sites

A major hunt is on to uncover new archaeological sites around the north coast and Rathlin Island (Northern Ireland). It is being conducted by researchers from the Ulster University's Centre for Maritime Archaeology. The archaeologists, who have already uncovered 600 new sites in a study on Strangford Lough, are hopeful their latest project will be as successful.
     Archaeologist Rosemary McConkey, from the School of Environmental Sciences, said: "Although the north coast is a very different environment than the sheltered waters of Strangford, preliminary results have revealed a rich archaeological record along these shores. These include prehistoric settlement sites, such as the sand dunes around the Bann, where recent excavation uncovered new collections of flint tools and pottery. " Work planned for this summer includes diving, field mapping and cave excavations.
     Wes Forsythe, also an Archaeologist from UU, explained: "The north coast of Northern Ireland has an exciting range of monuments representing human interaction with the sea across the millennia and we are discovering an unexpectedly rich array of new archaeological sites on this exposed coastline." Dr Andrew Cooper, Head of the Coastal Research Group added: "The survey builds upon our geological work on the north coast and provides information on the cultural heritage that is vital to coastal zone management. This type of synergy can only be achieved by facilities like the recently opened Centre for Coastal and Marine Research at the University’s Coleraine campus."

Sources: Northern Ireland on the Internet (9 April 2004), Belfast Telegraph (10 April 2004)

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