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County Antrim


Artefacts Unearthed at Toome Bypass Excavations

Blades and pottery unearthed during work on the new Toome Bypass reveal invaluable information about the lives of ancient peoples, according to archaeologists who have examined the artefacts.

The find is the most significant discovery in the province since a 4,000-year-old grave was discovered during an excavation in the ruins of Newtownstewart Castle in County Tyrone in 1999.

Paul McCooey, who has examined the latest find, said their discovery was of immense importance. "The wealth of archaeology uncovered provides a fascinating insight into the lives of our ancestors," he said.

A special team of experts has been appointed by the Roads Service to carry out a full examination of the site where a 3.5km dual carriageway is being built to ease chronic traffic congestion.

More than 8,000 pieces of flint, including small microlith blades and bigger tools used for hunting and fishing, have been discovered.
The finds range from Mesolithic (7,000-3,500BC) and Neolithic (4,000-2,500BC) to the Bronze Age (2,500-1,200BC) and right up to some tools from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Mr McCooey added: "This area would have been an ideal home for our early ancestors. "These hunter gatherers concentrated their activities on waterways, foraging on the shores of seas, lakes and rivers."

Other archaeological sites at Castleroe and Newferry have confirmed Mesolithic man migrated up the River Bann to Lough Neagh.

"The family groups lived a nomadic lifestyle in houses made from animal skins spread over a bowl-shaped timer frame, indicated by traces of a circular pattern of postholes found at Toome," added Mr McCooey.
"The finds at Toome also include flint tools and shards of decorated pottery from the New Stone Age, or the Neolithic period.
"Neolithic man built more permanent rectangular dwellings whose foundations show up as linear gullies with stone foundations packed with organic material."

from BBC News website, 8th Jan 2003
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
8th January 2003ce
Edited 15th March 2004ce

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