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Archeologists unveil gold while digging at medieval excavation site

Members of an archaeological expedition work on a dig at the site of the Sumerian city-state of Larsa, in the Qatiaah area near Nasiriyah, Iraq. — AFP/File
Members of an archaeological expedition work on a dig at the site of the Sumerian city-state of Larsa, in the Qatiaah area near Nasiriyah, Iraq. — AFP/File

The ground holds so much history that you never know what you may uncover if you start digging. Archaeologists, while digging, have unearthed ancient artefacts from the Kilmocholmóg (Church of My Little Child) site. 

The experts believe the artefacts are from a higher-status site, that was used to make gold and silver ingots thousands of years ago.

David Weir of the Craigavon Historical Society said the “three-week effort uncovered a greater insight into life at the location in the Kilmore Road area over thousands of years, and It is looking very exciting.”

“After last year’s excavation, we were thinking it was a farmstead, which would have been great,” he added. “But the finds that are turning up suggest that it is a higher status site. There is evidence of metal working, glass working, and evidence that gold and silver ingots were being made here.”

Archaeologist Stuart Alexander termed the activity on the site as “extensive.”

“Last year we only opened up a few very small trenches. But we’ve expanded out on that a lot more and we’ve found a lot more artefacts and archaeological features,” he said while adding that “we are finding some prehistoric activity and early medieval activity”.

“So in pre-history, we’re looking at the Mesolithic which is about 8000BC right up to the early Christian period of about 400 AD. It’s not unusual on sites to find that people come back over time to the same places and use the same spots.”

“All archaeologists want to find gold and I am no different.”

The excavation efforts are being carried out by as many as 300 volunteers part this year.

Meanwhile, Holly Donaldson, a student, said it was her second opportunity to take part in these efforts.

“I saw it posted up last year but I never got around to doing it. But then I saw it posted up again this year again and I just decided to come along for a bit of fun to see what I could find.”

“In 20 minutes, he [fellow student] found the ingot mould where they would have poured in the molten ore and made the ingots,” said Michael Higgins.

The excavation from the previous year was carried out after Queen’s University Belfast ground penetrating radar surveys identified interesting stone features.

The Department for Communities’ Historic Environment Division contributed to the surveys’ funding, which was ordered by the Lurgan Township Heritage Scheme.

The most recent excavation is scheduled to end on Friday. Afterward, the significance of the discoveries will be further examined. A third excavation at Kilmocholmóg will eventually be allowed, so the search for funding will start then.

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