The Irish Times

Flint axe may be oldest artefact found in Ireland

- CONOR KANE

Tests are to be carried out in the coming weeks to establish if a flint axe found by fishermen along the Waterford coast is one of the oldest artefacts ever found in the State.

The axe was found by a group of fishermen who were trawling for scallops off Creaden Head near Woodstown. They gave it to the Waterford History Group, which has arranged to have it time-tested in University College Cork.

Local historians have already pointed out similariti­es between the flint axe and one found in 2001 in Norfolk, which turned out to be some 700,000 years old.

“That was a game-changer over there because they had to rewrite the history books in the UK,” said Vincent O’Brien of the Waterford History Group.

The Waterford axe “proves that there was a tribe of people here in Ireland over a million years ago, and possibly more”, he said.

The axe could be one of the oldest of its kind ever found in Europe, and could be the oldest artefact of any kind discovered in Ireland.

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