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20 January 2009
Time Team uncovers ancient artifacts in Northern Ireland

Cairncastle area (Northern Ireland) featured in an episode of Channel 4's Time Team following a dig carried out last year. News of that Time Team was heading to this area was reported in August 2008. It was subsequently announced that September how the Team had uncovered a number of ancient artefacts, some dating back to 2,000 BCE, whilst excavating a site on the Ballycoose Road area. It emerged that, as well as these artefacts and significant quantities of flint, the remains of a village and a considerable number of houses had been uncovered.
     Tony Robinson, who presented the long-running show, stayed in Larne while the Team, consisting of about 52 members, made what were believed to be Bronze Age discoveries at Knockdhu within their traditional three-day deadline. At the time, a search at the site was expected to continue for up to six weeks. The dig was completed and earthworks subsequently restored by a team from Queen's University. Furthermore, the Knockdhu find is unique in this area as the dwellings discovered did indeed prove to be Bronze Age and not, as similar finds had, from the Iron Age.
     It was announced at the time that efforts had focused on some of the richly historical area's outlying ditches and barrows. The project was undertaken as a partnership between Time Team, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency and the Queen's University of Belfast Archaeology Centre.
     Speaking last year, Dr Collam Donnelly of Queen's University explained how, after deciding to investigate this site for the programme, "Under the direction of my colleague, Dr Philip McDonald, our targets were to try and find where the entrance to the fort would have been, what date these dwellings were from, and what defences would have been used at the fort."
Indications were that this part of Knockdhu "may have at one time been a village." The hypothesis they were working on was that this village would have been occupied during the Bronze Age and, if so, this would be a 'fairly major find.' He also discussed the work then being carried out, saying, "They are working at the top of Knockdhu, where there is part of a fortification around there, with the town boundary line just inside that, and are also looking around my neighbour Tommy Stewart's fields." He continued, "The outer bank is clad in stone, and has remnants of postholes on the top of the wall. "On Tommy's site, they have found at least 14 house sites and, from what I understand, they believe there may be up to 40 of these. The findings seem to date back as far as 1,500 to 2,000 BCE."

Source: UlstrNet.co.uk (7 January 2009)

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