An incredible find of European Significance
Neolithic remains which cast new light on the Isle of Man's earliest known inhabitants have been uncovered at the airport's new runway project.
The 5,000-year-old artefacts were found by workers within a 200 ft stretch of the proposed taxiway extension.
One of the two skulls
As well as stone-age flint tools and stunning examples of Ronaldsway pottery, experts have unearthed not one but two human skulls, a building, a rubbish dump and evidence of skull burials and funeral pyres.
With work on the runway set to continue in 5 weeks, it is now a race against time to see what else can be excavated.
"When the topsoil was stripped away, it revealed well-preserved archaeological remains, which date to the Neolithic period," said Fraser Brown, senior project manager of Oxford Archaeology North.
"These are specific to the Isle of Man and relate to what is known to archaeologists as the Ronaldsway Neolithic House, which was identified in 1943 following excavations for the original airfield."
Evidence of human habitation
"This latest find includes a rectangular 'sunken feature' building, which provides evidence of human habitation."
Mr Brown said experts also found funerary and mortuary evidence, including stone cairns built over the top of pyres.
"It's a place where people lived and also where bodies were commemorated, with evidence of the burial of skulls and the burning of bodies.
Snr Archaeologist on site Fraser Brown
"The excavation is of national significance for the Isle of Man, and is probably of European significance."
Archaeologists will continue to excavate the site, before recording and removing the artefacts.
Airport director Ann Reynolds said the "fascinating find" would have a minimal impact on the runway schedule.
last updated: 01/07/2008 at 16:41