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Tuesday 23 March 2004

 
Churchill pupils dig deep into the past
Pupils at a County Tyrone primary school in the Southern Education and Library Board area are enjoying a living history lesson literally on their doorstep.
Archaeologists have been digging deep into the past on a former playground at Churchill Primary School, Caledon.
Among the items, which have been unearthed over the last fortnight are an axe-head, dating back to the Neolithic period (roughly 3000BC), and a 1742 coin from the reign of King George II.
Pupils of Churchill Primary School, Caledon, are pictured on the site of the dig with archaeologist Colin Dunlop and principal Phyllis McWilliams.

Pupils of Churchill Primary School, Caledon, are pictured with some of the artefacts found in an archaeological dig outside the school where a site is being cleared for a £300,000 development.

The SELB is undertaking a £300,000 improvement scheme at Churchill and a condition of planning approval for the development was that archaeological surveillance of the site be carried out. This resulted in the dig which Colin Dunlop of Northern Archaeological Consultancy Ltd said has revealed some unusual findings. Mr Dunlop said a hearth has been discovered where pottery and the axe-head relating to the Neolithic period were found. The foundations, possibly of a turf or sod house from about 500 years ago, have also been uncovered. The coin from the 18th Century was found in a small section of a ditch.

“To find all this together is unusual,” said Mr Dunlop, “The fact that it has survived is also unusual.”
Among the pottery pieces found in the ditch were examples of Dutch and Italian ware. Mr Dunlop said the artefacts uncovered would be offered to a museum after they have been recorded and the archaeologists’ report completed.
Mrs Phyllis McWilliams, principal of Churchill Primary School, said it has been a great experience for the children to see an archaeological dig.
“We plan to link it in with our history programme,” said Mrs McWilliams.
“Early man is part of the Key Stage II history programme so this will all tie in. We hope to develop a timeline to chart the different finds.”

The £300,000 scheme at Churchill Primary School is funded under the Reinvestment and Reform Initiative.
The project is part of an SELB programme of works aimed at improving facilities at small rural schools. The contract will include a new multi-purpose hall, principal’s office and staff room. New toilet accommodation will also be provided. The school building will be rewired and new windows will be fitted. Already a new play area has been provided as part of the scheme.

Pupils of Churchill Primary School, Caledon, are pictured with some of the artefacts found in an archaeological dig outside the school where a site is being cleared for a £300,000 development.

Pupils of Churchill Primary School, Caledon, are pictured on the site of the dig with archaeologist Colin Dunlop and principal Phyllis McWilliams.

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