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8,000 Dwelling Unearthed At Isle Of Man Airport - UPDATES

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Bianca
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« on: July 13, 2009, 01:30:01 pm »



             









                                    Prehistoric dwelling unearthed at Isle of Man Airport








CAREFUL OPERATION: Archaeologists scrape away the soil at the site of a dwelling which is believed to be around 8,000 years old. The Isle of Man Airport runway extension project and associated machinery can be seen in the background
(JOHN MADDRELL)

 
13 July 2009
By ADRIAN DARBYSHIRE


A PREHISTORIC dwelling – 3,000 years older than Stonehenge – has been unearthed during construction of the runway extension at Isle of Man Airport.

Dating back an astonishing 8,000 years to the time when the first human settlers returned to the Isle of Man after the end of the Ice Age, it is probably the oldest dwelling ever found in the Island.

Featuring the foundations of a strongly-built shelter, filled and surrounded by thousands of pieces of worked flint, the charred remains of wood, and hundreds of hazelnut shells, the major archaeological find is certain to make headlines around the world.

It has been unearthed as fieldwork at Ronaldsway nears completion, with diggers due to finish excavating in the middle of this month and the project on schedule to be completed by the end of the year.



http://www.iomtoday.co.im/news/Prehistoric-dwelling-unearthed-at-Isle.5452740.jp
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Bianca
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« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2009, 01:45:36 pm »

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« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2009, 01:51:25 pm »



ISLE OF MAN

RONALDSWAY AIRPORT
« Last Edit: July 13, 2009, 01:53:05 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2009, 01:00:34 pm »





             

Pictured:

Excavation of the Mesolithic dwelling, showing the ring of postholes around the sunken interior.

  Photograph by
Oxford Archaeology North.
 
« Last Edit: July 18, 2009, 01:08:34 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2009, 01:06:58 pm »









                                Ronaldsway Dig Reveals Groundbreaking Prehistoric Find







Date Posted: 17/07/2009
Posted By: Liz Corlett 
ArchaeologyNews.com

The remains of a prehistoric structure thought to be the oldest dwelling yet found on the Isle of Man will, says Manx National Heritage archaeologist Andrew Johnson, 'revise our understanding of prehistoric life' on the Island.

At an estimated 8,000 years old, the dwelling is 3,000 years older than Stonehenge and dates back to the time when the first human settlers occupied the Island after the end of the Ice Age.

The dig has revealed the foundations of a wooden shelter, 6-7 metres in diameter, and holes created by a circle of supporting posts.

Within and around the structure - located east of the Airport, on the site earmarked for a new taxiway - have been found thousands of worked flints, hazelnut shells and fragments of charred branches.

The discovery has caused immense excitement in the archaeological community because it challenges what Andrew Johnson describes as the 'received wisdom' that people from this time - the Mesolithic Period - were essentially nomadic, their movements across the landscape determined by the search for food.

The substantial nature of the structure, and the wealth of materials discovered on the site, suggest that a group of people, possibly an extended family, settled here for some time.

Mr Johnson believes that the nature of the structure has parallels with the teepee of native American Indians and the traditional yurts developed by Mongol tribes.

As there were no fabrics at this time, he says, the wooden frame may have been completed by animal skin, wattle or woven brushwood.

While organic materials such as bone and leather will have long rotted away in the soil, charcoal, coarse stone - used as anvils and pounders - and flints have survived to provide vital clues as to the settlers' way of life.

The dig has been carried out by a team from Oxford Archaelogy North, who have so far recorded approximately 15,000 pieces of worked flint.

These and all other findings will now undergo rigorous analysis to obtain a more precise assessment of their age.

Gemma Jones of Oxford Archaeology North comments 'We have uncovered deposits to a depth of 30-40 centimetres. These will now be returned to our Cambridge office for further study.

'I feel very privileged to have worked on this site.

'It could potentially have a massive impact on our academic understanding, of what we believe life to have been in the Mesolithic period'.

The dig has been undertaken as fieldwork for the runway extension - which is still on schedule to be finished by the end of 2009 - approaches completion.

Airport Director Ann Reynolds reports that the archaeological team and project contractor Balfour Beatty have co-operated happily on the site, and that the dig has not impeded the progress of the groundworks.

The Ronaldsway area has long been identified as a place of considerable historical significance.

In the 1980s, Professor Peter Woodman of the University of Cork excavated a nearby site which yielded similar, but less well-preserved findings.

The current archaeological works first got underway in May 2008, following the discovery of a 3,500 year old Bronze Age village shortly after work on the runway project began.

Both the runway extension and the archaeological works are being undertaken by the Department of Transport, with Balfour Beatty as the main contractor.

 

Pictured:

Excavation of the Mesolithic dwelling,
showing the ring of postholes around the sunken interior. 

Photograph by
Oxford Archaeology North.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2009, 07:04:21 pm by Bianca » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2009, 10:40:15 pm »











                 Dwelling excavated at Isle of Man Airport predates Stonehenge by 3,000 years






July 20, 2009
ArchaeologyNews.com

A runway extension project at the Isle of Man Airport has unearthed the foundation of an 8,000-
year-old dwelling— predating Stonehenge by 3,000 years.

The site, which is thought to be the oldest dwelling discovered so far on the Isle of Man, dates
to the Mesolithic (“middle stone age”) period. The foundation consists of a hollow that is roughly
20 feet in diameter, surrounded by a circle of postholes. The structure would have been made of
wood and perhaps covered in hide or wattle. There is also evidence of a hearth that would have
been used for cooking and warmth.

Various objects from Mesolithic daily life have been found at the site, including charcoal, hazelnut
shells, and at least 15,000 pieces of worked flint.

The discovery of the Manx site is (literally) groundbreaking: it dispels the commonly held belief among archaeologists that Mesolithic peoples were strictly nomadic. Gemma Jones of Oxford Archaeology North, the team conducting the dig, noted that, “It could potentially have a massive impact on our academic understanding, of what we believe life to have been in the Mesolithic period.”

Manx National Heritage archaeologist Andrew Johnson says that such a discovery is, “a defining moment in an archaeologist's career. Finding a Mesolithic house is like finding the tooth of a hen— you would never think it would happen!” Johnson believes the house may have somewhat resembled a Mongolian yurt or Native American wigwam.

The occupants of the dwelling may have been a large group, such as an extended family, and would have been hunters subsisting on fish and fowl, as well as gathered plant foods. They would have been among the first people to return to the island after the end of the Ice Age.

The site has attracted the attention of a BBC television team who are filming the next season of Coast, a program that explores Britain’s relationship to the sea throughout history.
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« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2009, 06:27:57 am »



Mike Pitts
/British Archaeology |
 


Stone Age Dwelling

Workers appear above the foundation of the hunter-gatherer house.

This prehistoric abode predates Stonehenge by 4,000 years and offers archaeologists a glimpse of domestic life during the Mesolithic era.



| Discovery News
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« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2009, 06:35:26 am »











                                       Pre-Stonehenge House Reveals Domestic Life







Jennifer Viegas
Stone Age Dwelling
| Discovery News 
Aug. 11, 2009

-- The remains of a 9,000-year-old hunter-gatherers' house, uncovered during construction at an airport, have been unearthed in Great Britain's Isle of Man. The house was surrounded by buried mounds of burnt hazelnut shells and stocked with stone tools, according to archaeologists working on the project and a report in the latest British Archaeology.

It is the earliest known complete house on the Isle of Man and one of Britain's oldest and best-preserved houses, according to the report. The find also offers a glimpse of domestic life 4,000 years before Stonehenge.

Based on the many ancient shells found surrounding its exterior, the home's first inhabitants must have eaten a lot of hazelnuts.

"There were presumably so many hazelnuts near the house as a result of processing and consumption of these within the building," project manager Fraser Brown of Oxford Archaeology North told Discovery News.

"They may have been burnt because the shells were discarded into a fire after consumption of the fruit," he added. "When the hearth sweepings were cleaned from the building, the burnt nutshells and all else were cleaned to the periphery. Hazelnuts would have been an abundant and highly nutritious source of food that could easily be gathered in the autumn and stored for consumption through lean winter months."

A pit containing the structure's remains is about 23 feet wide and 12 inches deep. A ring of postholes around the edge, along with carbonized timbers, suggests the building's supports were about 6 inches thick.

In addition to the hazelnut shell mounds, the archaeologists also found a few hammer and anvil stones as well as approximately 14,000 flint artifacts that the researchers say once made up stone tools, such as fishing spears.

"(The hunter-gatherer residents) probably had a permanent base near the sea so that they could have easy access to marine resources, but given the small size of the Isle of Man, it would have been a simple matter to foray inland to exploit the different resources available there," Brown said.

Once the residents arrived at the island by boat, they probably would have not strayed far from home since "they could obtain all that they needed locally," which could be the reason they set up a permanent home.
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« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2009, 06:37:25 am »










Remains of another hunter-gatherer home, found over two decades ago just 492 feet from this latest discovery, also contained a hearth, small stone tools and numerous hazelnut shells.

Mike Pitts, an archaeologist who is also the editor of British Archaeology, still wonders why burnt hazelnut shells would have been buried so prominently around the houses.

"Perhaps the smell of the burnt shells had some significance?" Pitts speculates. "Was it comforting, redolent of good meals, or could it have had a more complex, ritual meaning?"

Andrew Johnson, curator of Field Archaeology at Manx National Heritage in the Isle of Man, helped to monitor the recent excavation work.

Johnson told Discovery News, "I would regard the finds as being of national importance for the Isle of Man, and certainly of international significance in that they add to what at present is only a very small number of Mesolithic buildings found in Northwest Europe."
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