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Drumclay Crannog


between the bridges

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This Saturday, local people and people far and wide, have been invited onto the site to see history unveiled before their very eyes.

New discoveries made during the first ever substantial excavation of a crannog in Northern Ireland - an artificial island in a lake – in Co Fermanagh, are shedding dramatic new light on life in medieval Ireland, and its connections to the wider world. The “dig” is of growing international significance and is rewriting our understanding of medieval history.

Environment Minister Attwood today visited the crannog to view the fascinating artefacts found and to announce the Drumclay Crannog Open Day on Saturday 1st December.

At the excavation, revealing some of the most significant artefacts found, Environment Minister Alex Attwood said: “On my two visits to date, I have found the site, the dig, and the archaeology beyond my imagination, enormously exciting and changing my view of our history and Irish life. This is the first substantial, scientific excavation of a crannog in Northern Ireland. What has been found has the potential not only to be internationally important but ultimately to lead to a reassessment of life in Ulster in early Christian and medieval times.
29 November 2012 - Fermanagh Crannog dig of ‘international significance’ – rewriting Ireland’s medieval history | Northern Ireland Executive

UTV Gallery

Pieces of a medieval board game and 1,000-year-old combs are among rare artefacts uncovered during an archaeological dig that is set to rewrite the history books.
Experts have hailed the finds in Co Fermanagh as internationally significant, claiming they shed new light on life in medieval Ireland and its connection with the wider world.

Iron, bronze and bone ornaments have been discovered at the crannog just outside Enniskillen, along with the chess-like pieces believed to have been part of the game. Parts of log boats, leather shoes, knives, decorated dress pins, wooden vessels and a bowl with a cross carved on its base were also unearthed during the six-month dig.

The style and design of the antler and bone combs suggest influences from northern Europe and indicate that the Fermanagh settlement had international links 1,000 years ago.

The Drumclay Crannog, which is an artificial island built in a lake, is the first of its type to be excavated in the north of Ireland since 1870. Archaeologists believe people may have lived there from 600 AD to 1600 AD, and it was probably the home of a noble family, with perhaps four or five houses inhabited at any time. Parents, grandparents, children and servants would all have stayed on the crannog.

Read more: Medieval artefacts found at crannog - Northern Ireland, Local & National - Belfasttelegraph.co.uk

The crannog was directly impacted by the ground works associated with the A32 link road under construction in Enniskillen, Fermanagh. It is a spectacularly well preserved site and from available information contains layer upon layer of preserved structures, fences and walkways. At its later levels it contains well stratified Ulster Coarse Ware and it preserves a large range of waterlogged wooden artefacts such as vessels, bowls, platters and leather objects such as shoes. Among the reported finds were a gold pin and disarticulated human remains. Without knowing the full results of the excavation we can only speculate on its full significance but in terms of environmental information, artefacts and structural remains it must be at least as important as Deer Park farms. The site was threatened by the original planning decision, the assessment and construction methodology and subsequent archaeological management. Although the facts and views we present have been compiled by us we know that many of the large number of people who subscribed to that site would support the spirit of our comments. This pressure group was almost entirely composed of archaeologists or other heritage professionals and was for the most part, we believe, a measured but urgent response to the issue.
Robert M Chapple, Archaeologist: Drumclay, Cherrymount, a crannog in crisis

i have myself booked on the tour to be one of the few to view this important site before they finish building the road over the top of it!!
 


Riadach

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Outstanding find by all accounts, perhaps as big if not bigger than Lagore. Pity it will all be tarmacadam soon.
 

Twin Towers

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It always appears that we have had very little archaeological investigation of the enormous number of archaeological sites that we have.
 

Riadach

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It always appears that we have had very little archaeological investigation of the enormous number of archaeological sites that we have.
We have about 50,000 ringforts alone in this country, and they are the visible sites.
 

JohnD66

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Why is it not creating a scandal that this site is not being preserved though?

This is exactly what happened with Wood Quay if I'm not mistaken.
 

Kevin Parlon

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I love finds like these. Fascinating to think about how our ancestors lived in these same places we now go about our daily lives. If you haven't been to the national museum in Dublin (2 Kildare street), you're missing out on some awesome (not as in 'cool' but in awe-inspriring) exhibits. One of my favourite activities when I lived in Ireland was to pick ancient monuments from the O/S maps and spend a saturday in pursuit of a good stretch and a look at the site. Wicklow is full of them.

Archaeology

Ardagh Hoard - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 

Catalpast

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I love finds like these. Fascinating to think about how our ancestors lived in these same places we now go about our daily lives. If you haven't been to the national museum in Dublin (2 Kildare street), you're missing out on some awesome (not as in 'cool' but in awe-inspriring) exhibits. One of my favourite activities when I lived in Ireland was to pick ancient monuments from the O/S maps and spend a saturday in pursuit of a good stretch and a look at the site. Wicklow is full of them.

Archaeology

Ardagh Hoard - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Here is a great site to check out:

Ireland In Ruins
 

between the bridges

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Four fascinating discoveries

1. A wooden bowl (top) incised with a Latin cross and with symmetrical perforations on the base. Unique in Ireland, at least 1,000 years old and may have been a wine strainer or implement for communion or baptism. Raises interesting questions about clergy’s control of the crannog.

2. Eighteen combs have been found, including some beautiful examples made of antler with bone rivets including three components. One dates back to 1050 to 1185AD. It was a fashion among the ‘glitterati’ of the day to wear these on thongs round their necks.

3. Numerous stick pins have been found in the hearths of the houses. These would have been used to pin cloaks in place. It’s suggested that one particularly long and ornate pin could have doubled as a stiletto-like weapon. Lords were expected to leave their weapons at the door, but could keep dress pins.

4. A pawn-like gaming piece, suggesting that the families played board games by the fire.

Read more: Archaeologists bowled over by Fermanagh bog finds - Northern Ireland, Local & National - Belfasttelegraph.co.uk

I went to the open day, fascinating on many levels! the tour consisted of a 30min presentation in enniskillen castle and a short bus trip to the site for an overview of the excavation and a viewing of some of the artifacts. The new road is virtually complete on both sides of the dig and the site itself is approx 6m below road level. now us mere plebs weren't allowed down to the site during the tour, but any interested local could have went back on Sunday for a prowl around!! Apart from the obvious historical significance of the site the other thing that struck me was the two primary aged kids mucking about down at the dig. A privilege denied to the 6 schools within a 1 mile radius of the site, perhaps the fact they were in the ministers company explains this rare opportunity! of course the minister has had several occasions to visit the site and we should all be grateful that he graciously announced a single 'open day' with the extremely generous 48hrs prior notice!!
 

Riadach

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Apparently the site shows out ancestors were more sophisticated than we thought.
Ironically, below the article, the comments descend into a Catholic vs Protestant theme.
Archaeologists bowled over by Fermanagh bog finds - Northern Ireland, Local & National - Belfasttelegraph.co.uk
From what I've seen so far, they look fairly representative of what we thought. I don't think there is much here that wasn't found at Lagore. With the possible exception of pottery. Pottery is remarkably uncommon in Irish sites for some reason, the Irish seemingly preferred wooden vessels. This site has substantial pottery finds however.
 

Campion

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There are crannogs aplenty that have never been excavated. There are at least 4 of them on Loughrea, Co Galway. When I was a kid we would row out to them. WG Wood Martin did some excavations on a couple in the 1840s, but I don't know if anything more has been done out there.

We also believed that there were cannons at the bottom of the lough. Some said that they were sunk after Aughrim while others claimed they were sunk in 1798. No idea whether the story is true either way, although there are many folk memories of Sarsfield in the area.
 
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Twin Towers

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We have about 50,000 ringforts alone in this country, and they are the visible sites.
I have a large ringfort on some land I own. Strange thing is that it was always easy to climb and clamber over as a kid but in recent years has become completely overgrown and impassable. It used to have a big colony of rabbits but they've gone so perhaps that's the explanation.
 

Gurdiev

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between the bridges

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Surely they're not going to carry on and build over it ?
aye work continued after the find and now the site is in a 6m deep hole between two sections of finished road...
 

pinemartin

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I have a large ringfort on some land I own. Strange thing is that it was always easy to climb and clamber over as a kid but in recent years has become completely overgrown and impassable. It used to have a big colony of rabbits but they've gone so perhaps that's the explanation.
I heard the little people stole the rabbits after a farmer ploughed their fairy ring.
 

Gurdiev

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aye work continued after the find and now the site is in a 6m deep hole between two sections of finished road...
That's a nice way to treat a heritage site.

I'm impressed that they had the kind of hair you could get a comb through. Plainly those eye witness accounts of the native Irish by survivors of the Spanish Armada were falsified.
 

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