Tsunami May Have Wiped out Tribe in Clare 6,000 Years Ago

Article excerpt

Byline: Andrew Hamilton

A TSUNAMI during the Stone Age may have wiped out one of the first ever tribes on this island.

Archeologists in the Burren in have unearthed one of the oldest records of human inhabitance ever found in Ireland.

Radiocarbon dating of a shellfish midden (rubbish heap) located on Fanore Beach in Co. Clare, revealed it to be at least 6,000 years old - hundreds of years older than the nearby Poulnabrone dolmen.

Excavations also revealed a black layer of organic material, which archeologists believe may be the residue of a tsunami that hit the west Clare coast.

This substance, which is two or three inches deep, disintegrates when it comes into contact with air. A large slab of this material has remained intact, indicating that it was laid down at once, possibly as the result of a tsunami.

Michael Lynch, field monument adviser for Co. Clare, said: 'If we can establish a date for this black material, it will help us to piece together more of the mystery of this site and it could tell us about what brought the use of the midden to an end.

'It is possible that this is the shellfish, contained a number of Stone Age implements, including two axes. …