Londonderry city walls archaeological dig extended

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Media captionThirteen skeletons were uncovered at the site last week

The Northern Ireland environment minister has announced a two-week extension to an archaeological dig in Derry that uncovered 13 skeletons last week.

Mark H Durkan said the dig will continue until 11 October.

It has been suggested that the skeletons may have been there since the 17th Century.

The work is being carried out at a car park adjacent to the city walls and St Augustine's Church.

Mr Durkan said: "The archaeologists are this week now discovering evidence of the settlement created by Sir Henry Docwra in 1600, which predates the walled city of 1613 onwards."

Derry came under siege between 1688 and 1689.

"The first find is of a flint tool known as a scraper, which would have been used to clean and prepare animal hides in the production of clothes or other goods," added Mr Durkan.

Excavation

"A piece of decorated pottery has also been recovered by the archaeologists and it would have been part of a large urn, possibly from a burial.

"Both the finds date to the Early Bronze Age some 4,000 years ago and are the earliest evidence so far uncovered on the Island of Derry.

"I have asked the team to stay on for another two weeks and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Department for Regional Development minister, Danny Kennedy, for granting the extension to this dig, and his department's Roads Service for their kind cooperation in allowing us access to the dig site."

The excavation is surrounded by low fencing and the public have been welcomed to visit the site to find out more information between 09:00 and 16:00 BST for the next two weeks.

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