Ronaldsway Site Yields Exciting Prehistoric Artifacts
The excavation on the site of the new taxiway at Ronaldsway airport on the Isle of Man is nearing completion, as the archaeologists strive to ensure that all the work is completed on schedule before the builders move in. The highlight of the dig has been the discovery of remains of a large Mesolithic dwelling, dated to approximately 8,000 years ago. This is the oldest building of this nature ever found on the island and dates from the time shortly after the last Ice Age when the Isle of Man was settled. Interestingly, until evidence of this structure was found, archaeologists had assumed that the first settlers on the island were mainly nomadic, but this substantial structure indicates that at least for part of the time the people were sedentary.
The team of archaeologists unearthed the remains of this wooden shelter, which would have measured something like 7 metres across and by studying the post holes it would have been a substantial, imposing building.
The excavation is being carried out by a team of scientists from Oxford Archaeology North. To date the archaeologists have discovered 15,000 pieces of worked flint plus evidence of the diet of these settlers and other artifacts dating from 3,000 years before Stonehenge was built.
We first reported on this particular archaeological dig back in June 2008, when the first evidence of Mesolithic remains were found. To read the first article in full:
It is hoped that the work will be completed in time to let the contractors back onto the site to start building the new runway extension in the next few weeks.
The picture shows archaeologists working on the large dwelling, the post holes can be seen. Commenting on the excavation, Gemma Jones of Oxford Archaeology North stated:
“We have uncovered deposits to a depth of 30-40 centimetres. These will now be returned to our Cambridge office for further study”.
The groundworks for the new runway extension has been continuing whilst the scientists worked, the contractors involved with the project have co-operated fully with the archaeologists, allowing this unique insight into the ancient inhabitants of the Isle of Man.