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27 May 2007
Bronze Age urn discovered in Ireland

An exciting archaeological find dating to c.1700 BCE was unearthed by an archaeologist, Orla Scully during test excavations on the Airport Road Realignment (R708) near Waterford (Ireland). The find comprises of an early Bronze Age collared urn burial, which contains the cremated remains of at least two individuals, a child and an adult.
     The burial consists of a circular bowl shaped pit approximately 85cm in diameter and 45cm in depth, the bottom of which was lined with stones. The collared urn, approximately 35cm in height and 34cm in maximum width, contained the cremated remains of at least two individuals. Originally the urn would have been slightly taller but the base has been damaged. Its collar is decorated by two bands of criss-cross motifs separated by a series of lines encir-cling the entire circumference of the urn. The urn was inverted with the remains inside and placed on a stone lining within the pit. A layer of charcoal rich soil, possibly pyre material, was placed around the urn to a depth of approximately 10-15cm and then the remaining burial pit was filled with redeposited subsoil.
     According to Freya Smith, Assistant Archaeologist of the Tramore House Regional Design Office, "Originally the urn would have been slightly taller but the base has been damaged. The collar of the urn is decorated by two bands of criss-cross motifs separated by a series of lines encircling the entire circumference of the urn". Freya explained that, "Orla was carrying out archaeological test excavations on behalf of Waterford County Council in an area that had been highlighted by previous non-intrusive archaeological investigations as an area of archaeological potential". Adding that, "As a result of the find, additional test trenches will be dug by Orla Scully to establish the extent of the site".
     It is understood that a geophysical survey was carried out at this location earlier in the year which identified the area as containing potential archaeological remains. The collared urn is now in the possession of an archaeological conservator. A large portion of Early Bronze Age archaeological evidence is derived from burial sites. Bronze-Age burials are generally not monumental in character. A common trait and underlying motif of this phase of burial custom was the inclusion of pottery vessels.

Sources: Waterford Today (23 May 2007), Waterford News & Star (24 May 2007)

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