Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Artefacts displayed for first time

A cross section of the crannog site in Enniskillen where an ancient settlement was discovered under the path of a road development (PA)

Hundreds of artefacts unearthed during one of the most significant archaeological digs in Ireland are going on display for the first time.

Medieval bone combs, finely decorated metal dress pins and a weaving tablet discovered during excavation of the Drumclay Crannog, in Enniskillen have been collated for an exhibition in the Co Fermanagh town.

A 600-year-old human body, pieces of a medieval board game, leather shoes, knives, wooden vessels and a bowl with a cross carved on its base were also found inside the flattened wooden homes which have now been covered by a controversial new link road.

Tourism Minister Arlene Foster, whose department contributed £20,000 towards the new exhibition, said the display would provide a unique insight into the way our ancestors lived.

She said: "This exhibition is another wonderful example of Northern Ireland's rich historic past and I have no doubt that it will be of great interest, not just to local people, but to visitors from far and near.

"As tourism grows, it becomes increasingly more important that destination areas have a clear, differentiated identity. By sharing Northern Ireland's cultural heritage with visitors, we can reap the economic benefits of tourism," said the Minister.

Carbon dating has confirmed that some of the site's earliest structures were laid down around 670AD, but the archaeologists believe that some of the remains are even older. The last occupants are believed to have abandoned the site in the 17th century.

During the dig more than 2,000 people visited on three public open days. The reason the wooden island settlement has been so well preserved is because the clay-rich wetlands under which it has been buried has protected it from the oxygen required for decomposition.

Environment Minister Alex Attwood, who placed special protection status on the site to enable full excavation, described the Drumclay crannog as the most significant archaeological excavation for a generation.

The exhibition will be housed at the Fermanagh County Museum at Castle Barracks, Enniskillen.

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz