ARCHAEOLOGISTS have unearthed a "vast array of important national treasures" at a Loch Lomond site which shows signs of human settlement from four different historical periods spanning 4,000 years.
The dig, at the location of a new golf resort and time-share development at Midross, has revealed "extremely rare artefacts" including an ornate Iron Age glass bead believed to be only the second discovered in Scotland.
Experts believe the 300-acre site also contains an early Christian burial ground with possible Viking or Norse connections, a complete shale bracelet, a roundhouse believed to be from a Neolithic or Bronze Age settlement, a blacksmith’s iron-smelting workshop where weapons were made and an Iron Age settlement covering 1,000 square metres.
The artefacts were discovered by Glasgow University Archaeological Research Division (GUARD) while working for the De Vere Hotel Group, which is developing the area.
Bob Will, the project manager on the dig, said: "This is an archaeologist’s dream and is an extremely important find for the area. Up until now there has been very little known about the prehistoric history of Loch Lomond over the past three to four thousand years.
"It is so important because it has lots of different periods superimposed on top of one another, spanning maybe three or four thousand years.
"There simply have not been the discoveries of this scale before and it presents an unusual and rare opportunity."
The GUARD team plans to be on site until June, after which further research will be conducted on recovered artefacts in laboratories. The final home of the finds is still to be decided.