A PIN from the Middle Ages and an arrowhead dating back to 2500BC were some of the objects found as part of this year’s archaeological excavation at what could be the oldest habitation site in the Burren. The dig took place during Heritage Week at Caherconnell Stone Fort near Carron.
This year’s excavation was led by Dr Michelle Comber of NUI Galway and Graham Hull of the Crusheen-based archaeological consultancy TVAS (Ireland) Ltd.
Among the items discovered was a bronze dress-pin dating back to the medieval period.
“This artifact would have fastened the cape of a wealthy Gaelic aristocrat living at the fort and supports our theory that high status people lived at Caherconnell in later medieval times” said Galway University lecturer Dr Michelle Comber.
A barbed stone arrowhead dating to approximately 2500 BC was found on Friday by archaeologist Anita Pinagli.
“The finely made arrowhead, together with the hundreds of stone tools and pottery dating to the Late Neolithic period, indicate strongly that we have found a prehistoric settlement. It could be the oldest habitation site yet known on the Burren,” said site director Graham Hull.
Last year’s Heritage Week dig at Caherconnell found a medieval corn-drying kiln with a surprising twist. After the kiln went out of use, the partial skeleton of a 15-year-old, who died sometime between 1430 and 1630 AD, was deposited.
“This is very odd as at that time people were burying in the Christian tradition and the nearby Kilcorney Church would have been ideal.
“The unusual burial may relate to the raiding and plundering inflicted on Thomond by Red Hugh O’Donnell as revenge for the Earl O’Brien’s friendship with the English Crown in 1599.
“A silver coin dating to these troubled times was found hidden near the stone fort,” Mr Hull continued.
“The excavation has allowed many volunteers from far and wide to participate alongside professional archaeologists.
“Families from as far away as Brisbane, Australia and New York, have joined people from various parts of Ireland in experiencing a Time Team-style dig,” claimed John Davoren, director of the family-run business at Caherconnell Stone Fort.
Results from the first three season’s digs are available at www.burrenforts.ie and at www.tvasireland.ie.