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6 August 2014
Schoolboy finds evidence of ancient conflict in Wales

Evidence of an ancient conflict has been discovered at Caerau hill fort, on the outskirts of the present day city of Cardiff, in southeast Wales. Volunteers from the CAER Heritage Project began digging at the site in early July, expecting to recover only Roman and Iron Age finds. A six-year-old schoolboy was the first to spot what turned out to be a Neolithic arrow head, dating to 3,600 BCE.
     As the excavation of prehistoric ditches proceeded, volunteers unearthed a plethora of early Neolithic finds, including flint tools and weapons, arrowheads, awls and scrapers, as well as fragments of polished stone axes and pottery.
     A dig last year revealed that the fort had been the site of a powerful Iron Age community pre-dating the arrival of the Romans. The latest discovery pushes its history back a further 4,000 years.
     "Nobody predicted this," said dig co-director Dr Dave Wyatt, from Cardiff University. "Our previous excavation yielded pottery and a mass of finds including five large roundhouses showing Iron Age occupation, and there's evidence of Roman and medieval activity, but no one realised the site had been occupied as far back as the Neolithic - predating the construction of the Iron Age hill fort by several thousand years."
     Oliver Davis, co-director of the CAER project, explained: "The ditches appear to date to the early Neolithic, when communities first began to settle and farm the landscape. The location and number of Neolithic finds indicate that we have discovered a causewayed enclosure; a special place where small communities gathered together at certain important times of the year to celebrate, feast, exchange things and possibly find partners. Such sites are very rare in Wales, with only five other known examples, mostly situated in the south."
     "What's fascinating is that a number of the flint arrowheads we have found have been broken as a result of impact - this suggests some form of conflict occurred at this meeting place over 5,000 years ago."

Edited from Wales Online (3 August 2014)

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