The excavated wooden posts were in very good condition due to the low-oxygen conditions of the waterlogged soil

Professor Bradley removes a large wooden beam from a stream-side trench

Excavations at the Ballyarnet Bronze Age site, Northern Ireland

Co-directed by John O'Neill (University College Dublin, previously Queen's Belfast) and Professor Bruce Bradley

Professor Bradley took six Exeter students and eight American volunteers to participate in the excavation of the Bronze Age site of Ballyarnett, just north of L'Derry, Northern Ireland. This two-week long excavation was directed by John O'Néill of Queens University, Belfast. Wood preservation was quite good because the main area of the site was originally established on the margin of a lake and the boggy nature of the deposit has lasted until recently. The settlement dates from around 1700-1500 BC and included a series of carved upright posts, a log platform/floor, and a wide range of stone (projectile points, hammerstone, perforated stone) and ceramic artefacts. There was also an area of superimposed clay lenses on the wood floor that probably served as a hearth area (left centre of photo), possibly within a house structure. Scattered pieces of slag attest to the presence of some type of metal smelting or working at or near the site.

The limits of the site were not reached and additional excavation is needed. Unfortunately, the site is cut by a drain ditch, which has dried out the deposit causing the wood to deteriorate. Left alone, much of the evidence in this site will disappear.

Dr Bradley will be carrying out the analysis of the stone artefacts for this project.