| 5 March 2004
Britain’s oldest continuously inhabited village
Dreghorn in Ayrshire, Scotland, has been revealed as Britain's oldest continuously inhabited village after the remains of an ancient settlement were uncovered by builders.
North Ayrshire Council granted permission for a development of 53 new houses at Dreghorn on the condition that tests were carried out on land next to Dreghorn cemetery. Developers spotted suspicious-looking lumps and bumps on aerial photographs, and when a 5,500-year-old well was found in November, archaeologists were called in. The team of archaeologists is being led by Tom Wilson.
“This is only one of five to be discovered in Scotland and we think it dates back to around 3500BC" he said. “It would be a farming community with around eight huts taking pride of place in the site. We have also found pits with pottery and a giant fence that must have circled the village. Although other neolithic villages have been found in Scotland, this is the only one I believe has been permanently lived in. We can see where the huts and kiln would have been. The residents moved further up the hill in the winter as the land was prone to flooding. We’re really like detectives and so far we have found some important artifacts including grooved-ware pottery and a kiln that we think is the oldest found in Scotland."
Pitchstone cooking pots from Arran have been found, along with animal remains. Also found were some much later mediaeval artefacts. Many of the artefacts will be put on display at the National Museums of Scotland.
The archaeologists have until the end of March to complete their investigations before the building work goes ahead.
Source: icAyrshire (4 March 2004)
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