Wales

History unearthed: Dig reveals 6,000-year-old quarry at St Dyfnog's Well

The quarry and a stone fragment
Image caption The dig unearthed a quarry site used to extract stone for use as tools

A small quarry used to make stone tools dating back 6,000 years has been unearthed during an archaeological dig.

The Neolithic site was found at St Dyfnog's Well, Denbighshire, which was previously dated to the 6th Century.

Pilgrims have visited the well at Llanrhaeadr for centuries because of its connections to a Welsh saint.

The dig found chert was excavated from limestone by lighting fires to heat the rock before pouring on water to splinter and remove stone.

Archaeologist Ian Brooks said little was known about such sites which made the discovery "nationally important".

Image caption Pilgrims still visit the site of the well which is being restored

Evidence of steps leading down to the well basin and the remains of a building, along with a gin bottle from the Victorian period, were also uncovered.

St Dyfnog was a 6th Century saint who is said to have done penance by standing under a waterfall at Llanrhaeadr in a shirt, belted with an iron chain.

By the late middle ages, the spring attracted pilgrims who believed the water had healing qualities.

The excavation, which involved about 35 volunteers, is part of a three-year project to restore the site and improve access for visitors.

"It is an incredibly special experience to be the first person to hold an object that was last touched by a human 6,000 years ago," said project manager Samantha Jones.

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