Wednesday, 25 September 2013


Wahoo - we have a two week extension! The minister, Mark H. Durkan, visited the site this morning and made the announcement with much media interest (including UTV Live and BBC Newsline).

Environment  Minister Mark H. Durkan with, on left, Roisin Doherty, Museum Services, and Emily Murray, excavation director. (Photo - Tom Heaney, nwpresspics)
The Minister also made the announcement of our major find - a sherd of an Early Bronze Age urn dating to circa 2000 BC and a flint scraper. These are the oldest finds from the island of Derry and although we might have expected settlement here in the prehistoric period (the island is strategically located on a bend on the river Foyle, a major river, and protected on the opposite side by a stretch of bog), this is the first piece of positive evidence. Saint Colmcille was reputedly given the site on the island for his monastery by a local King Aed, who had a fort here. It was clearly deemed a defensible and strategic site in the early medieval period and presumably was viewed the same for centuries and millennia before.
We are, however, still excavating down through the post-medieval period - the two Bronze Age finds were not found in context and had been disturbed by later activity. Brian started to excavate down through a linear feature, a possible ditch, and produced another of the very small tobacco pipe bowls (date range 1580-1610) while Stuart started to excavate a small pit which produced multiple sherds of a green-glazed pot possibly medieval...

 View of the site at midday - section of wall (cut through by burials) bottom right

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