Corrstown

Corrstown is a townland located within the outskirts of Portrush. Aerial photographs of the area had shown a circular feature in a heavily cultivated field but other than that there was no indication of what lay underneath. In 2002 an excavation was undertaken in advance of development works into what was initially thought to be a small prehistoric settlement. But as the topsoil was stripped away the extent of the archaeology became clear. What was uncovered would change our understanding of life in the Bronze Age on the island of Ireland forever. Over seventy-four houses which ranged from circular to oval in plan were excavated. Subsequent radiocarbon dating placed the settlement in the Middle Bronze Age (c.1700-1200 BC). This provided extensive evidence for a settled and organised Middle Bronze Age village that thrived at Corrstown for over 200 years. The houses were part of a complex and structured settlement with some of the houses linked through sunken cobbled pathways and a cobbled road that ran through the eastern side of the site.
To sustain the settlement of this size the surrounding landscape would have been managed and maintained to provide sustainable food sources. While no animal bones survived due to the acidity of the soil it was possible to analyse the charred seeds that had been recovered during the excavation. Results show that the cultivation of the land seems to have focused on barley production. The excavation recovered many artefacts including thousands of pieces of flint and pottery. Within the wider landscape further evidence of Bronze Age activity is found through the presence of standing stones. The excavations also uncovered the remains of a ploughed out rath, a souterrain (which is a man-made cave or underground passage) and faint traces of a rectangular structure. The importance of Corrstown in terms of adding to the story of our past cannot be underestimated. Examinations of the findings from the excavation continue to provide exciting results and it is clear that many more discoveries will be uncovered through further research.