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‘New Stone Age’ artefacts found during Llanllyr archaeological dig

Staff and students from UWTSD’s Lampeter campus have found artefacts dating back to the ‘New Stone Age’ (Neolithic) during an archaeological dig at Llanllyr in Talsarn, Ceredigion. 

[aoa id=”1″]This exercise is part of an undergraduate fieldwork module enabling participants to obtain field practice in archaeology.  Excavations have centred on low mounds surrounded by marshland that they believe formed dry ground in the Prehistoric past.  These ‘islands’ of dry ground appear to have been the focus of activity in the Neolithic period (between 4 and 6 thousand years ago) when people left behind traces of activity in the form of flint artefacts. [/aoa]

Some of the artefacts found

Among the artefacts found from one trench is a ground stone axe that was very likely hafted with a wooden handle.  This artefact would have taken a considerable time to make and it is perhaps surprising that it was abandoned in this landscape.

The team are also investigating the wider landscape of these earlier ancestors through boreholes to recover samples suitable for reconstructing the vegetation and providing material to date the finds.

Dr Martin Bates, a geoarchaeologist at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David has been jointly leading the team.  He said:

“Running an excavation like this is an important part of our teaching here at Lampeter and giving our students the opportunity to gain the skills an archaeologist needs is very important.  When we began our excavations we did not anticipate finding Neolithic artefacts so this is a bonus for the team.  Hopefully, we can come back next year with a new group of students and continue our investigation of this important piece of Ceredigion’s history.”

Joe Neal a second-year student in Archaeology was the lucky student who found the stone axe.  He commented

“It’s a great find for us, I couldn’t have hoped to find anything better. This is my first dig and the first time I have found anything, so this is great”.

Dr Ros Coard, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at UWTSD, added

“The University of Trinity Saint David has run excavations at the Llanllyr site over a number of years but mostly found later medieval material, so to find a much deeper pre-history is exciting and broadens our understanding of the Aeron Valley and this part of Ceredigion. It is a most unusual and unexpected find certainly warranting further exploration of the area”