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Radiocarbon dating of a shellfish midden, located on Fanore Beach in north Clare, have revealed it to be at least 6,000 years old -- hundreds of years older than the nearby Poulnabrone dolmen.
A midden, (also kitchen midden or shell heap) is an old dump for domestic waste which may consist of animal bone, human excrement, botanical material, vermin, shells, sherds, lithics (especially debitage), and other artifacts and ecofacts associated with past human occupation.
The word is of Scandinavian via Middle English derivation, but is used by archaeologists worldwide to describe any kind of feature containing waste products relating to day-to-day human life.
Excavation of the site has also revealed a mysterious black layer of organic material, which archeologists believe may be the results of a Stoneage tsunami which hit the west Clare coast, possibly wiping out the people who used the midden.