Belfast Telegraph

Bronze Age artefacts discovered

A 4,000-year-old piece of decorated pottery and a scraper used to prepare animal hides have been found in Northern Ireland.

The Early Bronze Age artefacts were discovered under a car park in the region's second largest city, Londonderry.

The first find was a flint tool used to clean animal skins for the production of clothes. The second, a piece of pottery, was part of a large urn and possibly from a burial, experts said.

Stormont environment minister Mark Durkan said: "This dig has moved the date of the earliest occupation within the area of the Walled City (Derry) back thousands of years."

It was found in an area adjacent to the historic city walls and St Augustine's Church.

The dig by archaeologists will continue until the middle of next month.

The fieldwork has already uncovered human burials from the 17th century which appear to represent just one phase of burial and may be early settlers interred close to an existing medieval church.

One man was a pipe smoker because there is a groove worn in his upper front teeth from clenching a pipe. Another may be a clergyman and a double interment nearby could hold the remains of a man and wife.

Archaeologists are this week also discovering evidence of the community in Derry established by Sir Henry Docwra in 1600 during the conquest of Ireland by Britain.

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