5,000-year-old settlement found in Sligo
Belfast Telegraph > News Publication Date: 17 July 2003
By Anita Guidera
THE Republic's largest Neolithic settlement dating back 5,000 years has been uncovered on a remote mountain - more than 100 years after the site was first mapped by archaeologists.
A small team, led by Dr Stefan Bergh of the Department of Archaeology of NUI Galway, working on the plateau at Mullaghfarna, 250 feet above Lough Arrow, Co Sligo, discovered artefacts which link the site to the late Stone Age, 2,500 to 3,000 years before Christ.
The existence of some of the 140 hut sites and enclosures high up on the plateau in the Brickleigh mountains, surrounded by cliffs and passage tombs has been known to archaeologists since 1911 but until now the age of the settlement has remained a mystery.
"This has remained one of the most enigmatic places in Irish pre-history.
"It has always been a main focus of research but it could not be fully interpreted because we did not have a date for it," explained Dr Bergh.
All this changed two weeks ago, when Dr Bergh and a small group of students from NUI Galway, uncovered a collection of cremated bones, teeth of animals, hazelnut shells, charcoal, small pieces of pottery and small tools, including an Antrim flint knife and some concave scrapers, as well as black flint debris on three separate trial digs on the 60,000 square metres limestone plateau.
"These finds are very significant for the time period and all date to the Neolithic period, although exact dates will not be known until the artefacts are carbon dated," Dr Bergh said.
Posted by Rhiannon
18th July 2003ce
Edited 12th April 2010ce