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19 October 2014
First ever excavation on Skomer Island

Skomer Island, off the coast of Pembrokeshire (Wales), is a bird and wildlife sanctuary under the control of The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales. Until recently no archaeological intrusive investigations had been allowed on the island.
     Now a group from the Royal Commission in Aberystwyth (Wales) have been allowed to excavate the remains of a roundhouse settlement and surrounding fields. When digging in a fire (or cooking) mound they uncovered a cattle tooth, blackthorn charcoal and worked flint tools. Radiocarbon dating has placed the cattle tooth at late Iron Age, the worked flint tools at Neolithic or Bronze Age, and the blackthorn charcoal at early Iron Age.
     Dr Toby Driver, of the archaeological team, is quoted as saying "Skomer is a fragile protected landscape and our archaeological research to date has focussed on non-invasive investigation of the prehistoric fields and settlements. This has included new aerial photography, airborne laser scanning, ground geophysics and walkover surveys. These new dates confirm pre-Roman settlement on Skomer. Even so, the burnt mound covers a substantial earlier field wall showing that the island was already well settled and farmed in previous centuries".

Edited from Culture24 (6 October 2014)

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