Archaeologists uncover ancient human remains

A 4,000-YEAR-OLD cremation urn, containing the remains of a Bronze Age person, is one of many “very significant” items recently found in the Erne waterway. 
As reported in last week’s Herald, a large cache of thousands of Bronze and Stone Age tools were found in a Leitrim lake during the lockdown. This latest discovery was made last week even closer to home in Ballyshannon. 
Archaeologists were surveying the site  as part of the new €21 million community hospital, when they first uncovered a large Bronze Age burial capstone with rock art. As they kept digging, finding a number more items throughout the site, they then discovered the urn in a small ring ditch on land used nearby for allotments. 
Excavation director Tamlyn McHugh, of Fado Archaeology, said the team immediately called in a specialist conservator, Susannah Kelly, to help remove the special urn. 
“She lifted the whole thing in one block,” Ms McHugh told RTE News. “We haven’t had the opportunity to look at the pot because she has taken it back to the laboratory to do a little mini excavation of it in the laboratory setting.
“We are really excited to see what this one looks like. Usually these are highly decorative.” 
Ms McHugh said the dig had revealed what the believe to be three different types of burial at the site, explaining the Bronze Age was an era that saw practices moving towards singular burials. 
Radio-carbon dating will now be used to piece together a time line of the sequence each of three types of burial found came in. 
An osteoarchaeologist will now examine the remains within the urn to try to learn more about the deceased person, or people. 
HSE estates manager, Shane Campbell, said the health authority was delighted with the discoveries that had been made, and added their finds would not delay work on the new hospital. 
The land where the urn was found will also return to being used for allotments afterwards, and the community will be consulted on how the find will be commemorated. 

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