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Last Updated: Tuesday, 31 August, 2004, 13:03 GMT 14:03 UK
Neolithic homes unearthed at roadside
The burials were buried inside bronze age pots
A Bronze Age cemetery is one of a number of prehistoric settlements that have been discovered in County Down.

Neolithic homes, which date to 4000 BC, were also uncovered by archaeologists along the A1 road near Newry.

Evidence from the excavation is being preserved before work begins on upgrading the road at Loughbrickland.

Head archaeologist Kevin Beachus said the find, which he described as "significant" was far more then his team expected.

"We didn't expect quite so rich a find, we knew there would be something there or supposed there would be, but we had no idea it was going to be as wealthy as it is.

Head archaeologist Kevin Beachus said the find was significant

"The three neolithic houses which are about 6,000 years old, there are perhaps 30 maybe 35 in the entire UK known.

"We have got three of them, so they are very important.

"I think our findings are going to be used by universities, I would have thought, as a teaching aid for many years to come.

"The burials have been buried inside bronze age pots, each pot is buried in the centre of a circle or a ditch and then that is filled over the top."

The archaeologists, which were brought onto the site by the Roads Service, have only a few days to collect their findings before work begins on the project.

"I'm afraid the road is going to be bulldozing its way straight through the site in the next few days," said Mr Beachus.

However, he added that he was confident everything would be preserved in time and that future generations would learn a lot from the artefacts.

"I have got a wonderful team on site and I have no doubt that we will have it cleared by then."


SEE ALSO:
Uncovering city's historic past
14 May 04  |  Northern Ireland
Station could hold medieval secrets
20 Jun 03  |  Northern Ireland


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