In this period almost 800 licensed archaeological excavations took place, mainly as a requirement of the planning process. The publication was produced by the Department for Communities Historic Environment Division (HED).
HED Senior Archaeologist Andrew Gault said: “These excavations have resulted in exciting and important new information about our past, from evidence of the homesteads of some of the first prehistoric farming communities in Northern Ireland to more recent urban archaeological remains and industrial heritage. It is intended that ‘Unearthed’ will continue as a regular annual bulletin of the most significant archaeological discoveries arising from development-led archaeology in Northern Ireland.”
A substantial rectangular Neolithic house was identified at Turmeel townland, Co. Londonderry during the archaeological investigation of the A6 near Dungiven. It measured approximately 14m long and 7m wide and contained almost 1400 sherds of Neolithic pottery. This building was constructed during the period when farming and agriculture were introduced almost 6000 years ago.
At Glenshane Road, Claudy, a Late Neolithic ritual site was discovered during a quarry extension. This consisted of a timber circle – large wooden posts with an outer fenced forecourt – which dated to circa 2500 BC. Timber circles are likely to have been the focus of elaborate ritualised activities attended by large numbers of people.