The Excavation

During the 1970s, Peter Woodman and his team of archaeologists uncovered evidence at Mountsandel of a Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age) settlement dated to 7600-7900BC. Their discoveries dramatically revised our understanding of prehistoric life, and the site remains the earliest known evidence of human settlement in Ireland.

Evidence was found of a succession of single huts, suggesting that they were repaired or rebuilt over several years, perhaps over several generations. The huts were substantial, measuring approximately 6m in diameter, and could have accommodated an extended family group of up to 10 people. They were almost egg-shaped, made by driving hazel rods into the ground, tying them at the top and then weaving smaller branches into the main structure. They were probably covered predominantly in turf and possibly some hide. The entrance was on the south west side and there was a roughly central hearth, with small flint-working area beside the fire and a sleeping area at the back.

image of dig location

The archaeologists began to dig shallow trenches to uncover what was left behind. By digging in this fashion, they can gentley uncover what may be evidence of life.
Uncovering markings or building plots gives us even more detail into the lives of the history of the location.

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