TWO pre-Christian urns containing ashes which could date back almost 3,500 years were unearthed during the ground works for the development of Mattock Rangers' new playing pitch in Collon.
Thought to be from a Bronze Age cemetery, the two gourd-shaped pots were 30cm in height by 20cm and a smaller pot, cm high by 12cm diameter. The pots were made from clay and decorated with dots and incisions in the shape of darts or chevrons. The archaeologists from Archer Heritage Planning who found them believe the pottery vessels date to the Middle Bronze Age or 1500 to 1300 BC - that's almost 3,500 years old.
They were lying just below the topsoil, and were uncovered within hours of the archaeologists - who are required following planning permission - starting their dig.
'You never know what you are going to come across, but we know that Collon was the site of an early monastery. It is so exciting because these urns haven't seen light of day in thousands of years', stated archaeologist Aidan O'Connell, Archer Heritage Planning.
The urns will eventually end up in the National Museum but in the meantime they are being examined by specialists under controlled conditions before being conserved and stabilised.
By the end of the year, the sex and age of the individual contained the urns may be known.
'They are the remains of important people because ordinary people were cremated and just buried in large pits,' added Aidan O'Connell.
Mattock Rangers chairman, Terry Donegan joked that he always knew that important people were connected with the GAA club, which is currently running a € 10,000 draw to raise funds for the playing pitch development.