Day 18 – Recording, recording, recording

The team has turned its focus to final recording of the pits and ditches exposed during the last few weeks. This is an extremely important phase of the excavation and will form part of the final report that will be produced on the results of the excavation. Once this section of the monument is back-filled this will form the main record of this portion of the site.  Matt welcomed colleagues from his college, DCU who interviewed and recorded work at the site. The research excavation at Newgrange Farm provides an insight into the kind of research which members of the DCU academic staff undertake over the summer. Lise Hand, journalist with the London Times (Irish edition) came on site to interview Matt about the excavation. Visitors to the site included Peter Dooner (OPW)  and Sarah Cummins with her husband Shane who generously spent most of the day sieving on site. We were also delighted to also see Clare Tuffy and Leonsha Lenihan of the Brú na Bóinne Visitors Centre who took time out from their crazy schedule to call in.

That evening, many on the excavation gathered at Tara for the last of this July’s Tara Lectures. The audience were treated to a novel and highly enjoyable analysis of the iconography of the Crosses at Monasterboice by Peter Harbison. Peter and all assembled thanked Clare Tuffy and her staff for organising and hosting the Tara Lecture Series.

Matt was back in the great pit after having had to face the reality that the stones at the bottom of the pit were not natural but were, in fact, fill. As many of the boulders were removed as possible, without endangering the structural integrity of the sides of the cutting. The digging out of the pit was extremely difficult and was made possible by the human chain of Craig and Tom who passed the fill up and out of the cutting. Some bone and clay deposits overlay the basal gravels.
Clare Tuffy and Leonsha Lenihan (top right) inspect the site. Mattison provides a guided tour of the excavation (centre top). Billy (with drawing board) finalises the section of the eastern side of the cutting.
Matt Stout getting ready for his close-up with Nicole Keohane and Daire Hall from the DCU Communications Office
Lise Hand (right) begins her interview with Jo Leigh. Lise writes for the Irish edition of the London Times. Lise has written an entertaining but hard hitting piece on the deplorable decision whereby history is no longer a mandatory subject for the Junior Cert. The link to her article is:
Sarah Cummins with her husband Shane sieving pit deposits.
A view of the admissions hut at the entrance of Newgrange Farm. To the right are the posters informing new arrivals of the archaeological excavation taking place nearby. As a result, hundreds of visitors have come to the excavation. They were usually met by Mattison who explained the excavation and invited the public to take part in the excavation through sieving material taken from the cutting. It was always a priority of this public funded excavation to welcome as many members of the public as possible.


Author: Matthew Stout

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

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