Mount Sandel

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Name Mount Sandel County Derry Nearest Town Coleraine Access Road A26/A37 About

One of the outstanding heritage sites that should not be missed on a trip to Nortern Ireland is the Mount Sandel Mesolithic site which is situated in Coleraine County Derry, just to the east of the iron-age Mount Sandel Fort.

Between 1973 and 1977, excavations found evidence of an early mesolithic site. Radiocarbon dating of this site was between 7010 to 6490 BC, making Mount Sandel the oldest archaelogical site in Ireland. These excavations were led by Professor Peter Woodman. Mount Sandel Mesolithic site is a Scheduled Historic Monument in the townland of Mount Sandel, in Coleraine Borough Council area.

The site was discovered in 1973 when land was being prepared for a new housing estate, worked flints were brought to the surface and a year later excavations began. In 1973 Peter Woodman and his team of archaeologists began what seemed a routine investigation only to discover after the carbon-dating of charred hazelnut shells that human beings had dwelt here between 7000 and 6,500 BC. With this information the generally accepted date of the arrival of people in Ireland had been extended back by more than a thousand years. In view of this, Mount Sandel is probably the most important site of its kind in all of the island of Ireland.

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