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'Stunning' Ancient Archaeological Finds on A75 Bypass

To mark the early opening of the new £17 million A75 Dunragit bypass in Wigtownshire, a stunning treasure trove of ancient artefacts found on the construction site, shedding light on land use and settlement in the area over the past 9000 years, was unveiled today.

Finds from across the Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze and Iron Ages, include a rare and complete 130-piece jet bead necklace dating to around 2000 BC - the first of its kind ever discovered in south west Scotland, early Neolithic flint tools including a flint arrowhead, and over 13,500 Mesolithic flints.

Other fascinating finds include an Iron Age Village, a Romano-British brooch, a Bronze Age cemetery complex, cremation urns and pottery sherds.

Transport Minister Keith Brown marked the early completion of the bypass by viewing some of the archaeological finds described as ‘highly significant’ by the National Museum of Scotland and Historic Scotland.

Mr Brown said: “With the A75 Dunragit bypass already improving journey times and providing opportunities for business, leisure and tourism industries on this crucial route between Scotland, the rest of the UK and Europe - it is also helping shine a light on Scotland’s ancient past.

“The finds at Dunragit, which would have remained uncovered had the new bypass not been built, are truly stunning, and underline the importance of the value we place on meeting our environmental obligations as we plan and construct essential new infrastructure.

He added:

“These are really exciting discoveries and tell us so much about our history in south west Scotland. The concentration of artefacts from the Mesolithic to post-medieval periods was highly unexpected, but gives an invaluable insight into the land use and settlement of southwest Scotland over the past 9,000 years. The necklaces are of particular interest because they are the first such necklaces to be uncovered in the south west of Scotland.”

Rod McCullagh, Senior Archaeology Manager at Historic Scotland said:

“Historic Scotland advised how best to carry out this project while addressing the disturbance of any unknown archaeological remains along the road line through archaeological excavation and analysis. The new bypass has been constructed while successfully avoiding the known archaeology, and an unforeseen wealth of archaeological information has been recovered.

“The team of archaeologists from Amey and Guard Archaeology Ltd have uncovered the remains of dwellings and burials spanning over 7000 years of prehistory. In addition, numerous smaller sites have been discovered which seem to relate to the use and exploitation of the land both through hunting and farming. These are exciting discoveries which offer a much richer understanding of the settlement of southwest Scotland over the past 9,000 years.”

Publication Date: 
Fri 16/May/2014
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