Sunday 18 February 2018

Archaeologists uncover ancient finds in Omeath

Anne Campbell

THE NARROW Water bridge may be history, but the site for the proposed project at Omeath yielded some significant ancient finds dating back 8,000 years, The Argus can reveal.

Rumours of a 'Viking treasure hoard' on the Narrow Water bridge site in North Louth have been circulating for months and while these have so far proven unfounded, it has been revealed that there have been findings from mesolithic and medieval settlements.

The site at Cornamucklagh was excavated in June and July last year and the remains of an early medieval industrial site as well as 'burnt mounds' dating from 7000 to 6000 BC were discovered.

The finds were confirmed by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, which also gave a brief outline of the discoveries.

They said: 'Archaeological text excavations undertaken under licence as part of the Narrow Water Bridge Project uncovered the remains of three burnt mounds at the site of the project.'

Among the findings were: 'An early medieval industrial site which includes two cereal-drying kilns; a metalworking area; a series of pits of various sizes; spreads; a hardened deposit cut by a post-hole line; and an over lying spread of charcoal-rich sands which covered the majority of the excavation area. This site is in close proximity to an early medieval monastery and these newly discovered features may be directly associated with this important ecclesiastical site.

'The final reports on the excavations are due to be submitted to the Department later this year and these may supply further insights'.

According to Dr. Vanessa Ryan, archaeologist with the Mourne Cooley Gullion Geotourism Project it is 'highly likely' that some Viking artefacts are located in the Carlingford Lough region.

'The name Carlingford itself has obvious Viking connotations, because of the 'ford' element.

'However, to date, the site of a Viking settlement in the Carlingford Lough region has yet to be definitively identified. What we can say with a relative degree of certainty is that entries in the Irish Annals strongly indicate Viking activity in Carlingford Lough in the 9th and 10th centuries.

'It would seem extremely likely to me that there was at least one Viking settlement in the Carlingford Lough region throughout this period. Any such discovery would be of huge importance both to the Geotourism project and also to the study of early medieval archaeology more generally'.

The Argus

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