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30 October 2005
Prehistoric sites discovered near carriageway in Ireland

Nineteen archaeological sites including a Neolithic settlement have been found along the route of the next stage of the Belfast to Dublin road upgrade. Construction of the nine-mile high quality dual carriageway between Dundalk and Newry is under way and it is due to open in 2007. The archaeological testing was carried out by Archaeological Development Services Ltd (ADS) and they are nearly finished final excavations.
     At Aghnaskeagh there is a cairn, which is recorded in the Louth Archaeological Survey as an 'unclassified megalithic tomb' and it lies partly in the road-take. A megalithic tomb, it dates from between c. 4000-2500 BCE and while around 40% of the site lies outside the road take and will be preserved in situ, the remaining 60 which is affected by the new road is currently under excavation. In the townland of Plaster there was a Neolithic settlement  consisting of two rectangular structures, probably houses, each measuring around 9m x 6m. A souterrain or underground passageway measuring 40 metres long was also found; it appears to have been deliberately de-capped in ancient times and the passageway infilled.
     The road, which will cross the border, will cost just under about 80m and will take traffic from the end of the Dundalk motorway bypass, which opened last month, from the Ballymascanlon roundabout to Clogoghue roundabout on the southern approach to Newry.

Source: The Belfast Telegraph (24 October 2005)

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