Environment Minister Mark H. Durkan with, on left, Roisin Doherty, Museum Services, and Emily Murray, excavation director. (Photo - Tom Heaney, nwpresspics)
The Minister also made the announcement of our major find - a sherd of an Early Bronze Age urn dating to circa 2000 BC and a flint scraper. These are the oldest finds from the island of Derry and although we might have expected settlement here in the prehistoric period (the island is strategically located on a bend on the river Foyle, a major river, and protected on the opposite side by a stretch of bog), this is the first piece of positive evidence. Saint Colmcille was reputedly given the site on the island for his monastery by a local King Aed, who had a fort here. It was clearly deemed a defensible and strategic site in the early medieval period and presumably was viewed the same for centuries and millennia before.