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Archaeo News 

5 November 2011
Iron and Bronze Age finds in Argyll

A routine archaeological survey has uncovered a treasure trove of Iron and Bronze Age artefacts on a hillside near Oban (Argyll, Scotland), including a Neolithic axe-head dating back 5,000 to 6,000 years and three roundhouses around 2,500 to 3,000 years old. Other objects include a hoard of stone tools dating back 3,000 years and hundreds of fragments of Bronze Age pottery.
     Dr Clare Ellis, of Argyll Archaeology, who surveyed the site at Glenshellach on the outskirts of Oban, said: "The site is unusual because the excavation of domestic prehistoric sites in Argyll is very rare." Dr Ellis explained that the roundhouses, a variety of artefacts and an old metalwork store - identified because of traces of molten iron - were hidden under the grass-covered hillside. She said: "All you could see on site when we first did an evaluation was the main ruin of the farmstead - the roundhouses were under the grass and the soil. We have got three roundhouses that are prehistoric and two of them could be anything from Bronze Age to Iron Age."
     She added: "We found the Neolithic axehead in a 18th-century farmstead, which we are currently excavating. It was among the rubble in the barn and is quite a rare find. It's a stone axehead and it's highly polished, for ceremonial use, not practical use. These were prestige items and they had a ritual significance. We think that whoever lived at the farmstead has found it in the fields and has thought, 'We will keep that.' We also found lots of little hammer stones and wet stones for grinding corn, smashing up vegetative matter, or lichens and seaweed for dyes. The grinding stone tools are about 3,000 years old."
     Dr Ellis added: "It is believed that one of the roundhouses may have belonged to a VIP, as it is 14 metres in diameter - huge when compared to the average size of prehistoric houses. It may be Iron Age, but it could be Bronze Age and if it's Bronze Age it will be a really, really exciting find because of its size. It's only when we have finished excavating the site and we get the carbon dating results back that we will know."

Edited from The Scotsman (5 November 2011)

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