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ENGLAND - Prehistory

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Author Topic: ENGLAND - Prehistory  (Read 2911 times)
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« Reply #15 on: January 18, 2009, 08:17:22 pm »

Courtney Caine
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    Archaeologists piece together prehistoric Mann
« on: July 01, 2008, 03:25:20 am » Quote 


                                     Archaeologists piece together prehistoric Mann

Watch footage from the site and an interview with Manx National Heritage head of professional services Andrew Foxon RONALDSWAY DIG: Given the likelihood of new finds being made, experts from Oxford Archaeology were drafted in from the outset and were there to see the first finds being unearthed

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30 June 2008

AS aircraft soar into the sky, a team of archaeologists are busy piecing together the lives of prehistoric Mann.
The contrast between the new and the very, very old could not be greater.

Within hours of work starting on the multi-million runway extension project, Ronaldsway was beginning to reveal fascinating and remarkably well preserved evidence of human habitation that had remained unearthed for 5,000 years.

As heavy machinery scrapped away the top soil, a human skull was found in a cairn hidden just beneath the surface. A second skull was later discovered in the same cairn.

Nearby a series of circular constructions were uncovered with charred earth showing evidence of cremation.

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The discoveries, described as being of British and possibly European significance, were not unexpected as Manx National Heritage's head of professional services Andrew Foxon explained.

He said: 'We know Ronaldsway is one of the most significant archaeological areas in the Island. Finds from the earliest settlements have been found there.

'When the airport was built in the 1940s remains of a Neolithic house and an Iron Age village were found. We provided the Department of Transport with advice on what might be there and how best to cope with it. The information proved right and there is significant archaeology there.'

MNH had been involved right from the very beginning of the project, ensuring the scheme was designed to reduce collateral damage to archaeology by reducing the number of equipment compounds, for example.

Given the likelihood of new finds being made, experts from Oxford Archaeology were drafted in from the outset and were there to see the first finds being unearthed.

Pointing to fragments of prehistoric pottery in what appears to be a Neolithic building, archaeologist Julian Thorley said: 'It's amazing archaeology - absolutely extraordinary. No excavations I've done before could compare to this.'

MNH field archaeologist Andrew Johnson said the skulls had now been removed from the site: 'Human remains are human remains, it doesn't matter how old they are - you need to treat them with as much respect as possible under the circumstances.'

He said the remains of habitation were well preserved.

'There is very very little damage,' he said. 'In some way this site has been protected by the fact that it's not farmland. The only ploughing there has been here was by horse plough which can't plough any more than six inches.'

The finds were unearthed on a 60-metre stretch of a proposed taxiway extension in the north east of the airfield. So far the discoveries have not delayed work on the runway scheme.

But the field archaeologists believe they are working on just a small sample of a much-wider settlement and there is a chance that further finds will be uncovered.

Mr Johnson said the team were working to a time limit and were expecting to be off the site by mid to late July to ensure the project was not held up.

Artefacts removed from the site are expected to go on display at the Manx Museum, Douglas, but it is hoped that a display could be arranged in the atrium at the airport.

The remaining archaeology with everything of interest removed will then be buried again for many hundreds more years to come.

Transport Minister David Anderson said a contingency fund in excess of £100,000 had been included in the capital budget for the scheme to cover the possibility of archaeological discoveries.

The full article contains 600 words and appears in n/a newspaper.Page 1 of 1

Last Updated: 30 June 2008 12:15 PM
Source: n/a
Location: Isle of Man
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