A Stone Age quarry dating back 6000 years has been unearthed in northern Wales.
A community volunteer group has been excavating the site, located in St Dyfnog’s Well, Denbighshire, where it is believed ancient residents once extracted rock to manufacture stone tools.
Material collected from the archaeological dig shows the quarry originated in the Neolithic era, the final division of the Stone Age.
According to the BBC, Neolithic farmers came to the well to excavate chert found in the limestone. Fires were lit to heat the rock, before it was covered with water to cause a splintering effect. They would then remove the required material with antler picks.
Around 35 volunteers have helped with the site’s excavation, which also found evidence of old steps to the well basin, remains of a building and a Victorian era gin bottle.
The well itself also has historical significance, dating back to the 6th century when pilgrims visited for association with Welsh saint Dyfnog.
Pilgrims still visit the site of the well today, and the excavation is part of a three-year project to restore the site and improve access for visitors.
Archaeologist Ian Brooks said the ancient quarry discovery was of national significance. “The discovery of the possible quarry is an exciting one,” he told the BBC.
“We know a lot about the larger stone quarries such as those at Penmaenmawr, but we know very little about the smaller quarries for local groups. This makes it nationally important as well as a career highlight.”
According to North Wales Live, the restoration is being led by the Cymdeithas Cadwraeth Llanrhaeadr YC Preservation Society.
Chairman Elfed Williams said the group never expected to come across such a significant discovery. “We knew the site was special but this excavation has shown that it is even more so.
“As part of the project we will be interpreting the site for the first time and we can’t wait to share this story with visitors.”