Young archaeologists dig into old Newmills

It was hands-on history in the village of Newmills when Lough Neagh Partnership and archaeologists from the Centre for Community Archaeology, Queen’s University, invited members of the public to take part in a dig.

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 1:00 pm

The excavation took place in a field beside the 18th century aqueduct where an old spade factory and creamery once stood.

It was part of the Coalisland & East Tyrone - Great Place Scheme being delivered by the Lough Neagh Partnership, funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and supported by Mid Ulster District Council.

The archaeologists were on-site for two weeks and unearthed the remains of a pit which held the mill wheel and also adjacent tenant houses, known as Creamery Row. It is thought the buildings date back to the early 19th century and finds included china, pottery, glass, clay pipes, a few household items and building material such as tiles, slate and bricks.

Pupils from the Archaeology Summer Scheme at Newmills Primary School take part in the excavation organised by Lough Neagh Partnership in the village

Despite the limitations caused by Covid-19, Lough Neagh Partnership worked together with Newmills Primary School to run an Archaeology Summer Scheme and children from 7-11 years old were able to join in the dig. Members of the public were also invited to take part and, thankfully, the weather was dry most of the days. There was added excitement when Julian Fowler of the BBC spent a day filming at the dig. Several of the school children gave brilliant interviews and Julian also spoke to local man George Boyd who remembered Creamery Row and the old mill. The report was broadcast on BBC Newsline and is still available online.

Lough Neagh Partnership would like to thank Mihail Bell, the landowner, for permission to excavate at the site.

For more information on Coalisland & East Tyrone - Great Place Scheme, contact Keith Beattie, Industrial Heritage Officer, Lough Neagh Partnership.

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Pupils from the Archaeology Summer Scheme at Newmills Primary School take part in the excavation organised by Lough Neagh Partnership in the village

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