29 November 2012 - Fermanagh Crannog dig of ‘international significance’ – rewriting Ireland’s medieval history | Northern Ireland ExecutiveThis 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.
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
Robert M Chapple, Archaeologist: Drumclay, Cherrymount, a crannog in crisisThe 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.
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!!