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16 December 2016
Early Neolithic houses found at site in Wales

Previous work at Llanfaethlu, on Anglesey, in the extreme northwest of Wales, uncovered three 6000-year-old Early Neolithic houses, two of which were almost twice the size of other examples found in the area. A large 5500-year-old Middle Neolithic pit group containing highly decorated pottery was also excavated. Recent discoveries at the site include a fourth Early Neolithic house and extensive archaeological remains which extend the Prehistoric settlement into the Early Bronze age, about 4000 years ago. Settlements of this type were unknown in the area - prior to the discoveries at Llanfaethlu only three single Neolithic buildings had been discovered in North Wales.
     Two partial sets of human remains have also been found at the site. Human remains are incredibly rare outside of megalithic tombs in this area as bone seldom survives in North Wales. Several teeth hold details of where the person grew up, and information about diet. Further analysis will show what the people of Llanfaethlu were eating 6000 years ago and whether they grew up in North Wales.
     Most Prehistoric sites in North Wales yield only small numbers of artefacts, but at least 6,000 artefacts have been found at this site, including a wide range of pottery styles from the Neolithic and Bronze Age and over 2,500 flint and stone artefacts, such as complete stone axes, a leaf shaped arrow head, serrated blades, and beautiful flakes of rock crystal. Much of the stone from which artefacts were made had come from as far away as the Peak District, and over the sea in Ireland.
     Catherine Rees of Archaeology said "It is no understatement to say that Llanfaethlu is one of the most significant archaeological discoveries of the last 50 years and it is clearly of international significance. It provides the potential to examine Welsh history over millennia, examining the changing culture and land use. This site will place Wales and Anglesey at the forefront of the current archaeological discourse and Llanfaethlu will undoubtedly become a "type site" in the study of Prehistory".

Edited from Daily Post (4 December 2016), Past Horizons (5 December 2016)

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