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12 November 2006
Houses halted by prehistoric find in Scotland

Work at a 60 million housing development had to be suspended when a historic artefact was found on the site in Glasgow's East End (Scotland).  Archaeologists were called in after an ancient farming tool was discovered at Persimmon Partnerships' site in Garthamlock.  A member of the public alerted the developers after unearthing a quern stone, used for grinding corn, and a makeshift hammer on land behind Glasgow Fort.  Experts suspect the artefacts could be thousands of years old and want time to carry out trial digs on the site, off Tillycairn Road.
     Staff from the West of Scotland Archaeology Service have visited the site, which is earmarked for new houses, and are in talks with the developers.  The site is part of the final phase of a massive regeneration development in the east end including 770 new homes. Dr Carol Swanson, service manager of WoSAS, which provides expert help to 11 councils, said: "Maps show the land was once a farmstead and we hope the developer will grant permission for a trial dig. "The quern definitely dates back to the 18th century but the design was unchanged for thousands of years, so it's impossible to tell how old it yet. "We hope Persimmon will allow contractors to have a closer look at the land."  
     Paul Robins, an archaeologist with the service, added: "These are genuine antiquities - a type of simple stone technology that has been in use unchanged for several thousand years." Councillor Catherine McMaster, who represents Garthamlock, was intrigued by the find.
She said: "There could be many ancient artefacts in the soil and it could turn out to be an important historical site."  Developers are legally obliged to inform the council if historical artefacts are found on open land. A spokeswoman for Persimmon Partnerships said: "The council sent out their own experts to look at the site and we are awaiting their report."

Sources: Evening Times (9 November 2006), The Scotsman (10 November 2006)

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