Evidence Of The Mesolithic Age In Donegal
The past existence of Mesolithic (Middle Stone Age) settlements in
Donegal is confirmed by the discovery of a variety of ancient
microlithic artifacts (small stone tools) at several locations in the
county. For example...
Mesolithic microliths that precede 6,000 BC have been discovered near Castlefinn in East Donegal.
an excavation of a Late Mesolithic Age site yielded a trove of
microlithic debitage. That is, small pieces of flint chippings
discarded in the making of Stone Age tools. Geologists concluded that a
tool production industry had existed at the site, and that the tools
were created for the purpose of trading with neighboring communities.
The artifacts were discovered at Dunaff Bay on the Inishowen peninsula
in Northeast Donegal.
Tools Made From Stone
Flint microliths found in Donegal
Donegal's earliest humans fashioned arrowheads and sharp blades out of flint or quartz.
These Middle Stone Age implements were needed for hunting wild animals and
preparing them for cooking.
Plus they were useful in the removing of skins for use as clothing and shelter.
The tools also
helped defend against attack by wolves and other predators from the dense
How Donegal's Earliest-Known Residents Arrived
Donegal's earliest-known settlers had journeyed here
either by boat, or by crossing a possible natural 'land bridge' via
Britain. It is possible that they arrived by sea, river, and/or land,
crossing Ireland from the east or southeast.
Their Way Of Life
Wild blackberries formed part of the Mesolithic diet
It is known that the primitive
peoples of this era had a preference for coastal locations. They also favored lake shores as well as the
banks of larger rivers. Rivers facilitated transportation and provided
natural travel routes through the lush vegetation.
people were hunter-gatherers. They ate well living on such culinary
delicacies as wild boar, various species of wildfowl, seafood and a
variety of fruit, nuts and berries. They knew how to create and use
fire, and cooked their food outdoors.
Primitive Mesolithic Dwellings
These early residents also built and lived in
primitive dwellings. The dwellings were made from a combination of native
materials that may have included wood, earth, and animal hide. Evidence
of this has been unearthed at the Mountsandel archaeological site across the border in Northern Ireland.
The Mountsandel site is approximately sixty kilometers east of County Donegal,
near the river Bann.
Where To View Stone Age Artifacts In Donegal
You can view the Stone Age artifacts pictured above in the County Donegal Historical Society's museum room at the Franciscan Friary in Rossnowlagh.