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 Wednesday, 8 January, 2003, 13:58 GMT
9,000-year-old artefacts uncovered
Prehistoric blades used for hunting
Some of the artifacts found during the excavation
Hunting tools believed to be 9,000 years old have been uncovered during a road development in County Antrim.

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 finds are 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 finds, said their discovery was of immense importance.

These hunter gatherers concentrated their activities on waterways, foraging on the shores of seas, lakes and rivers

Paul McCooey Archaeologist
"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 3.5-kilometre-long 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 (7,000-3,500 BC) and Neolithic (4,000-2,500 BC) to the Bronze Age (2,500-1,200 BC) and right up to some tools from the 18th and 19th Centuries.

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17 Aug 99 | N Ireland
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