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24 March 2014
Bronze Age firepit discovered in north-east Wales

British amateur archaeologists made the staggering discovery of the remains of a Bronze Age firepit, thought to be almost 4,500- years-old, on the flanks of Moel Arthur, near Cilcain (Wales). The find - unearthed by the Clwydian Range Archaeology Group at the Moel Famau Country Park site - is said to be one of the the first of its kind in North East Wales and includes charcoal dated to some time between 2617 BCE and 2462 BCE.
     The group carried out geophysical surveys on the Iron Age hillfort on Moel Arthur and found a magnetic response on the north-western flanks of the hill. Excavations revealed a water logged pit filled with burnt stones and a substantial amount of charcoal. Radiocarbon dating suggests the charcoal had been there for between 4,000 and 4,500 year and was burnt in the the early Bronze Age.
     The exact purpose of the site is not known. But experts' suggestions include a cooking site, a fire for the brewing of alcohol or even the remains of a Bronze Age sauna. Nick Critchley, AONB sustainable development officer, said "This is a fantastic discovery. "It adds more detail to the fascinating story of how people lived and worked in the Clwydian Range more than 4,000 years ago."
     Sites such as the one on Moel Arthur are collectively known as 'burnt mounds' and are usually found lying near to a watercourse. On previous excavations on the hillside Clwydian Range Archaeology Group has found many Neolithic and Early Bronze Age flints, including a barbed and tanged arrowhead. The excavation was undertaken with the support of students from Coleg Cambria and the Clwyd Powys Archaeological Trust.

Edited from The Leader (17 March 2014)

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