An archaeological site in County Waterford will be one step closer this month to finding out whether it is one of the earliest settlements in Ireland.
Thousands of flint artefacts have been found in Creaden in Dunmore East in recent years. A flint axe (pictured) in 2015 is believed to be 700,000 years old.
Now a senior archaeologist is visiting the fishing village on the 17th of June to determine just how significant the site is.
Experts consulted to date believe it’s likely the artefacts are from the Mesolithic period, also known as the Middle Stone Age.
Local historian Noel McDonagh has been recording each artefact found in Creaden: “There’s so little Mesolithic in Ireland, if you go to the Museum you’ve one little cage with Mesolithic and it comes from the North of Ireland most of it. In 1983 there were 10 pieces in all of Waterford found – today I would have well over 5,000 pieces.”
Currently the oldest settlement in the country is Mount Sandel in Derry.
The archaeologist who excavated that site was Professor Peter Woodman, and he visited Creaden several times before his untimely death last year.
Noel McDonagh wants to complete the project as a mark of respect to Professor Woodman: “I feel that having lost Peter, that I have to finish it for his sake. When you meet an exceptional person in your life, and he was, you get a goal in life to see that this is brought to a conclusion.” He added that it will never be “because history keeps changing anyway, it makes you out to be a liar every so often”.