Day 15 – Rainy day

We have taken this long dry spell for granted on the excavation so it was a shock to the system to experience our first day of rain. Fortunately, the rain helped show up contrasts in soil deposits in the section face wonderfully.  It also provided an opportunity to catch up on some site homework.  In between the showers, Billy Sines started to draw the sections. In the late morning we had very important visitors from the Royal Irish Academy Archaeology Committee, who have provided a research grant for this excavation, Ian Doyle (Heritage Council of Ireland) and Dr Edel Bhreathnach (The Discovery Programme) with Raghnall O’Floinn, recently retired  from the National Museum of Ireland. In the afternoon we were able to do some digging and Matthew and Sadhbh uncovered a large deposit of red burnt soil and stones with animal bones, which have been sampled from the great pit.  A large group of very enthusiastic children from Teach na nDaoine family resource centre, Monaghan, offered to help out on the excavation and their examination of our spoil heap produced numerous pieces of quartz, worked chert and a flint flake. So thank you guys!

Today was the last day on the site for two of our intrepid diggers. We thank Ciarán McDonnell and Comhall Ferriter for their magnificent contribution.


Inspecting the site for the Royal Irish Academy are Ian Doyle (Heritage Council) and Edel Bhreathnach (Discovery Programme). From left: Sorcha (Ragnall and Edel’s daughter), Ragnall Ó Floinn (Director Emeritus of the National Museum of Ireland), Clare Busher O’Sullivan, Ian, Edel and Geraldine Stout
Eoin Grogan, (Maynooth University), Helen Roche (prehistoric pottery expert) and Patrick Redhouse discuss the site with Geraldine Stout. Helen had a look at a piece of ‘pottery’ discovered by Matthew in the first days of the excavation. She determined that it was merely a clump of dirt. Matthew took the whole weekend to recover from the disappointment.
Joe with his friend Livy at tea break, Livy chose a wet day to start her archaeological career.
Anthony Murphy with site co-director Geraldine Stout. Anthony is the man who discovered the crop-mark henges in the fields below Newgrange (now known to some as ‘Drone-henge’). Anthony has supported our excavations since we dug at Knowth Site M in 2002–04. Anthony, in addition to his day job with the Farmer’s Journal, edits the website Mythical Ireland.
A large group of children from Teach na nDaoine, Monaghan, visited the excavation at the end of the day.
An unimaginable level of fame was achieved for the excavation on Saturday. The project made it into the ‘Whats Hot and What’s Not’ section of the Irish Times Magazine.


More importantly, Lorna Siggins refers to the excavation in an article in the Weekend Section of the paper.


Matthew and his daughter Helen (photo: Marie Bourke).



Author: Matthew Stout

Lecturer, School of History and Geography, St Patrick's Campus, DCU

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