Archaeological News

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Posts tagged "ireland"

An archaeological excavation at Ireland’s best-preserved Anglo Norman castle has been extended after the discovery of a secret tunnel.

Experts from Queen’s University had been commissioned to spend three weeks conducting exploratory digs at Carrickfergus Castle in a bid to find out more about the 800-year-old fortification on the shores of Belfast Lough.

But Stormont’s Environment Minister Mark H Durkan has now given the archaeologists another month to carry out further excavations.

Built in 1177 by Anglo Norman knight John de Courcy soon after his invasion of Ulster, the castle lies on the stretch of coastline where King William III landed in Ireland before the Battle of the Boyne in 1690. Read more.

An alliance of pirates preyed on ships laden with treasure, outmatched Britain’s Royal Navy, elected their own admiral and, ultimately, were destroyed in a cataclysmic battle against a Dutch fleet in 1614, suggests new archaeological and historical research.

The new study reveals more details about the adventures of this pirate alliance, which operated on the southwest coast of Munster, Ireland, in the early 17th century.

Among the recent archaeological discoveries that may be connected to the alliance are two remote sites, each with a set of stairs reaching almost to the sea. One of them, located at modern-day “Dutchman’s Cove,” east of Baltimore, Ireland, held niches where candles or lanterns were used to signal pirates and smugglers who came in the dead of night. Read more.

Historical secrets locked within the walls of Ireland’s best preserved Anglo Norman castle could be uncovered through a new archaeological excavation.

Experts started work at Carrickfergus Castle today in a bid to find out more about the 800-year-old fortification on the shores of Belfast Lough.

Built in 1177 by Anglo Norman knight John de Courcy soon after his invasion of Ulster, the castle lies on the stretch of coastline where King William III landed in Ireland before the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

Its storied history includes sieges by King John in 1210 and Edward Bruce in 1315 and capture by the French under Captain Francois Thurot in 1760. Read more.

A medieval pilgrimage “round”, or circuit, has been identified on the Mayo island of Caher, which archaeologists believe shines fresh light on religious practices in the west of Ireland up to 1,000 years ago.

Caher, a rocky outcrop lying between the southern tip of Clew Bay and Inishturk, marks the sea end of Bóthair na Naomh, the so-called saint’s road, up to the summit of Croagh Patrick and down towards the Atlantic.

A maritime pilgrimage comprising a circuit of the island takes place annually a fortnight after Reek Sunday, but recent fieldwork has identified an outer arc of altars or “leachts”, making up a second and larger pilgrimage circuit on the south and west sides of the island. Read more.

A man who found a dirty piece of metal in a field has discovered he is actually the lucky owner of a silver Viking ring.

David Taylor, from County Down, Northern Ireland, discovered a bracelet-shaped object while helping lift stones from a field.

His wife thought it was a bull ring and told him to throw it out.

A coroner’s court has now found the ring to be treasure trove.

Almost 18 months ago, Mr Taylor noticed the strangely-shaped object lying on a stone in his brother-in-law’s freshly ploughed field near Kircubbin on the Ards peninsula. Read more.

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have uncovered an ancient monastic settlement of “huge national importance” during work for a church car park.

The treasure trove is set to put a boggy field beside an old rural parish church on the archaeological map of Ireland.

Archaeologist Mick Drumm compared the find in Co Donegal this week to the settlement at Clonmacnoise.

The field beside the Drumholm Church of Ireland graveyard, near the village of Ballintra, is set to be classified a national monument as a result of just two days’ excavation work.

Mr Drumm moved on to the site on Monday after being commissioned by the parishioners to survey the one-acre plot as part of a planning application for a car park and cemetery extension. Read more.

Research by a University College Cork scholar has made new discoveries about the “Viking loot” from Ireland. 

He traced how sacred objects were turned into jewellery by Vikings in Norway, Sweden and other Scandinavian countries. 

There are no plans, however, to seek to have returned to Ireland the crosiers that were turned into brooches and chalices that became jewellery boxes, ransacked over two centuries from the “soft targets” of the churches. 

However Dr Griffin Murray of the Department of Archaeology at UCC will tell an international Viking Conference in Shetland this week that he would like to see Irish treasures “taken by the armful” returned in the form of a temporary exhibition. Read more.

An oceanic exploration company has recovered 122,000 pounds of silver from a shipwreck 300 miles off the coast of Galway, Ireland—the heaviest amount of precious metal ever retrieved from a shipwreck.

In February 1941, the S.S. Gairsoppa, a 412-foot steel-hulled British cargo ship with stockpiles of tea, iron, and silver, was weathering a storm when it was struck by a Nazi torpedo. The ship sank within 20 minutes; only one person survived.

At the time, the silver that ended up on the seafloor was insured at $1.3 million. Today it’s worth about $75 million.

The silver was retrieved about two weeks ago by Odyssey Marine Exploration, which used a remotely operated vehicle to access the shipwreck. The vehicle descended about three miles and explored several rooms in the ship until it found the silver in two locations. Read more.