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26 July 2004
Ancient Irish lake settlement found

The remains of a crannóg-like settlement which has been dated to 7,200 years ago were found by Swedish archaeologist Dr Christina Fredengren, who is currently working close to Lough Kinale near Abbeylara (Co Longford, Ireland). The find is significant because it also contains evidence of alterations which were carried out about 1,000 years later - indicating if not a previously unknown 1,000-year continual civilisation in Longford, then certainly some progression from hunter gatherers to farming settlers.
     The main feature of the find - a stone platform of 12 metres in diameter overlaid with brushwood and the remains of three fireplaces - is thought to date from the late megalithic period. The younger evidence is of an alignment of wooden stakes which have been carbon dated to around 6,000 BCE. The find is also significant because of the large amount of organic material present. Organic material from these periods is rare.
     Also significant is the site of the find, about half a metre above an early lake bed, on a flood wetland between the high and low water marks, where the Inny River leaves Lake Kinale in the Longford Westmeath border area. The Inny is a tributary of the Shannon and hunter-gatherers emerging from the Shannon would find the stone platform very exposed and visible from all points of the lake, surrounding countryside and much of the river.
     "It is a very interesting find and we are all very excited about it because it may belong to the interim period when man stopped being a hunter-gatherer and before he established farming settlements," said Dr Fredengren.
     Lough Kinale was previously the subject of archaeological interest in 1986 when an incomplete and disassembled casket or book shrine was found underwater close to a crannóg.

Source: Irish Times (26 July 2004)

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