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Ancient Drumanagh fort in Loughshinny to host community excavation


Digging History at Drumanagh

Digging History at Drumanagh

Digging History at Drumanagh


Fingal County Council is inviting members of the public to take part in a community excavation at Drumanagh promontory fort, Loughshinny.

Building on the success of previous seasons of community excavation, Fingal’s Heritage Officer and archaeologist Christine Baker is undertaking another excavation at Drumanagh promontory fort with a team of professional archaeologists and volunteers from the local community and beyond.

This year the dig coincides with National Heritage Week and it is hoped that people will visit throughout the two weeks (over 18s only.)

Drumanagh is a nationally important archaeological site and is of international significance in terms of Ireland’s relationship with the Roman world.

“Community excavation is an objective of the Drumanagh Conservation Study and Management Plan, so it is fantastic to be undertaking another season of excavation at the site”, said Ms Baker.

"We will be investigating a trackway visible on aerial photographs that extends from a possible landing point. What we uncover will inform the future management of the site. It is also hugely exciting for the local community who have such a love for the site.”

"The people of the Iron Age were known as the invisible people. Here at Drumanagh we have evidence for settlement, trade, death and burial from two thousand years ago, all uncovered by the community of today”, said Ms Baker.

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The focus of the Season I excavation in 2018 was the Martello road in the vicinity of the early 19th century Martello tower, towards the eastern limit of the headland.

Two trenches were excavated and showed that the building of the Martello road disturbed Iron Age deposits. A number of fragments of human bone were also recovered including the cranial fragment of a female aged between 18 and 45 years, which was dated to BC 170 – cal. AD 52.

A long bone identified as an adult femur was recovered from the area south of the Martello road which returned a date of cal. BC 49 – cal. AD 118 indicating at least two burials in this area.

There were also extensive remains associated with the occupants of the Martello Tower. 

The 2019 Season II excavation took place at the other end of the Martello Road, near to the ramparts. Here a prehistoric structure was identified by the post and stakeholes left behind when the wood rotted.

Nearby was a stone platform associated with a weaving comb along with numerous bone points, possible bone tools and a bone needle indicating processing and/or craftworking and textile production was being carried out here.

The presence of almost 80 sherds of Dressel 20 pottery from the Roman province of Baetica in Southern Spain and other Romano-British material confirms there was significant contact between Drumanagh and the Roman world in the 1st-3rd centuries AD. 

Season III of the community excavation Digging Drumanagh will take place between August 17 and August 31 2022.

If you would like to participate or would like to read about the work to date please go to https://www.fingal.ie/digging-drumanagh or contact Fingal County Council’s Heritage Officer at christine.baker@fingal.ie