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19 April 2009
Bronze Age rubbish tip unearthed on a Scottish island

Evidence has been found of Bronze age activity on the Scottish island of Iona, following an archaeological dig there. A collection of bones, shells, pottery and tools were uncovered by archaeologists from the National Trust for Scotland. The items were believed to date back to between 930 BCE and 810 BCE. The Trust said they suggested the existence of an ancient rubbish tip used by a prehistoric settlement on the island.
     Iona is well known for its Christian history but these latest findings indicate life almost 1,000 before the birth of Christ. The limpet and whelk shells, animal bones, shards of pottery, flint and a large cobble stone tool were unearthed last September in a sandy bank of a burn on the west side of Iona.
The results of radiocarbon testing from the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre in East Kilbride have confirmed a 95% chance that the midden dates from between 930 BCE and 810 BCE.
     Trust archaeologist Derek Alexander said: "This is a very significant find for Iona. "The midden contains lots of useful information that may help shed some light on what life on pre-historic Iona was like. However, we don't have all the answers - while it is quite clear that the remains are domestic rubbish, but whether they relate to a settlement in the immediate vicinity is unknown."

Source: BBC News (15 April 2009)

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