Printer Friendly


Byline: ANTONY STONE Reporter

AN army of volunteer archaeologists has stunned the experts by unearthing evidence of an ancient conict which took place in Wales hundreds of years before Egypt's pyramids were built.

A six-year-old schoolboy was the rst to spot what turned out to be a Neolithic arrow head, dating back to 3,600BC, at an archeological dig site in Caerau on the outskirts of Cardi[euro]. More than 250 volunteers from the CAER Heritage Project began digging at the site of an ancient Welsh hill fort in early July with the hope of nding artefacts dating back up to 2,000 years.

Among them more than 80 schoolchildren and teachers have collectively put in 2,000 hours helping experts sift through the site, expecting to dig up Roman and Iron Age nds.

But as the excavation of prehistoric ditches proceeded the expert team from Cardi[euro] University was shocked as volunteers unearthed a plethora of early Neolithic nds.

Finds, suggesting an ancient con-ict, range from int tools and weapons, including arrowheads, awls and scrapers as well as polished stone axe fragments and pottery, dating to around 3,600 BC.

A dig last year revealed the fort was the site of a powerful Iron Age community pre-dating the arrival of the Romans. 'e latest discovery pushes back ndings by a further 4,000 years in time.

"Quite frankly, we were shocked. Nobody predicted this," said the digs co-director Dr Dave Wyatt, from Cardi[euro] University.

"Our previous excavation yielded pottery and a mass of nds, including ve large roundhouses, showing Iron Age occupation, and there's evidence of Roman and medieval activity, but no one realised the site had been occupied as far back as the Neolithic - predating the construction of the Iron Age hill fort by several thousand years."

He added: "What's really great " about this story is that we've made the Neolithic discoveries with the help of local people.

"A six-year-old local boy spotted the rst major Neolithic nd, a int tool from the Neolithic ditch.

"It's all down to the hard work of local volunteers, who have been uncovering arrowheads and pottery, while local schoolchildren and teachers have been excavating and sieving the spoil heaps to look for nds.

"'is local involvement is very important to us and is in line with key objectives of the CAER Heritage project which is to put local people at the heart of archaeological research, and to develop educational opportunities in Caerau and Ely."

Oliver Davis, co-director of the " CAER project, explained: ''e ditches appear to date to the early Neo lithic, when communities rst began to settle and farm the landscape.

"'e location and number of Neolithic nds indicate that we have discovered a causewayed enclosure; a special place where small communities gathered together at certain important times of the year to celebrate, feast, exchange things and possibly nd partners.

"Such sites are very rare in Wales with only ve other known examples, mostly situated in the south. What's fascinating is that a number of the int arrowheads we have found have been broken as a result of impact - this suggests some form of conict - occurred at this meeting place over 5,000 years ago."


The archeological dig site in Caerau on the outskirts of Cardiff

A six-year-old schoolboy was the first to spot what turned out to be a Neolithic arrow head, dating back to 3,600BC
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2014 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Wales On Sunday (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Aug 3, 2014
Previous Article:DANNY O'DONOGHUE admitted it was [...].
Next Article:ON THIS DAY.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2019 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters