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6 June 2010
Mesolithic axe head unearthed in Ireland

A prehistoric axe head, believed to be 7,000 years old, has been uncovered in Derry (Ireland). The axe head was found on freshly ploughed land near Thornhill College, on the banks of the River Foyle. The artefact was spotted by a man walking his dog in the area. He took the item home with him.
     Local archaeologist Ian Leitch believes the item dates from the Mesolithic period and was around 7,000 years old. Ian believes the find is significant in terms of the wider archaeology of the area. "The axe head from Culmore suggests that there may be a Mesolithic site on or near to the find spot. It may have been dropped or lost by its owner while out hunting on land near the river." He stated: "The stone axe head is made from mudstone, measures around six centimetres in size and is in quite good condition." Mr Leitch added: "It is important that such an artefact is reported and properly recorded." He thanked the finder for alerting him to the existence of the axe head.
     Last summer,  eight Neolithic sites were unearthed by archaeologists in Derry. Some sites dated to more than 5,000 years old. The exciting discoveries were made during work on the new Maydown dual carriageway. Finds included a pair of well-preserved 5,000 years-old Neolithic houses and 4,000 years-old Bronze Age burial places known as 'ring-ditches'. The earliest known mesolithic site in Ireland was excavated at Mount Sandel, which dates to around 7,000 BCE, on the banks of the River Bann in Coleraine in the 1970s.

Source: Derry Journal (1 June 2010)

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