Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Week 2, Day 7 & a bit of a media circus

We had a pretty hectic day on site. BBC Radio Foyle met us in the car park for an interview just before the 9am News and we also spoke to Mark Patterson during his lunchtime show as part of a panel - with John O'Keeffe (Assistant Director/ Principal Inspector of Historic Monuments, NIEA) and Mark Lusby (City Walls, Heritage Project). Later that morning we were interviewed, along with Roisin Doherty from the museum, by UTV's Gareth Wilkinson and Kieron Tourish of BBC both of which went out on Tuesday's 6pm News programmes (BBC Newsline - at 17 mins.; UTV Live News).Throughout the day we were visited by reporters/photographers from the Derry Journal, Irish News and Irish Times and lots of visitors to the site, local and foreign, curious to see the dig for themselves.
Roisin Doherty being interviewed by Kieron Tourish, BBC
Gareth Wilkinson, UTV, filming at Bishop Street

The excavation and archaeology still continues despite the media circus. We now have at least 11 burials, including the juvenile (excavated on Monday). The skulls of four of these have been partially revealed. The location of these four and the other burials are all demarcated by their grave cuts and fills. The 'back fills' of the grave cuts are all darker than the surrounding soil into which they have been inserted which allows us to identify them.
The site put to sleep at the end of the day. The outlines of the grave cuts can be seen and the finds trays cover the partially exposed skulls.

One of the grave cuts appears to be a double burial and there are two inter-cutting burials. The burials do not extend across the western side of the trench which is really interesting - the absence of burials in this area may indicate the presence of a former boundary or ditch.

Finds are much less frequent - animal bones (food and butchery waste) are the main finds, some clay pipe stems, nails (probable coffin nails) and a gun flint (possibly Irish). Greg Devine, a metal detectorist (and sculptor) joined us on site today and searched through some of our spoil with the assistance of John Hegarty, one of our volunteers. They discovered another musket shot along with more nails. There is little if any disarticulated human bone which would suggest this was not an intensively used burial ground.

Greg Devine scanning the spoil heap.

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