A day-by-day account of the activities of the Rossnaree Archaeological Project 2010-11

Day 18 – Circling the wagons.

‘No you can’t have my lunch!’

It was another fantastic day in the Boyne Valley – very warm and sunny but with some cloud cover in the afternoon. Cattle were moved into the field where our site cabin is located so we had to erect a new electric fence to keep them at bay! There was a lot of curiosity at lunch-time but the fence did its job well.

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Laureen and Matt at work.

Burial 2.

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We were joined again on site by Laureen who came to assess for herself the skeleton that was gradually being revealed in Cutting 7. She very kindly stayed for most of the day working on the burial and very good progress was made uncovering the extent of the remains. The bones are in fairly poor condition and Laureen is certain that they will not all remain intact when lifted so it was particularly informative for her to be on site at this stage to make her own observations as she will ultimately be writing the technical report on the remains. She was able to tell us that the burial is that of a female probably in her mid twenties. There is no sign on the bones at this stage of the cause of death. Control points were installed around the grave cut which will be later surveyed in by total station and detailed photographs of the burial were made.

Blue glass bead No.3.
Me taking a picture of Burial 2.

Elsewhere in Cutting 7 Ciara and Mags wrestled with the identification of natural versus disturbed soil, and again, despite the hot dry conditions, good progress was made. The same story was unfolding in Cutting 8 and a final working-over of the surface of the cutting with mattocks helped to identify the locations of some possible additional grave cuts. The find of the day today was Sophie’s discovery of a blue glass bead. Unfortunately it was not intact. Rain is forecast for tonight and, as I write now, there is rain falling, so this will do the site some good and help us to distinguish the soil colours.

Eimear draws another section.

In Cutting 6 Eimear continued to draw the sections there and Niamh continued to dig one additional section. This is not behaving as expected as it is a lot deeper than we thought it would be. We will finish excavating it and probably record it tomorrow evening or Friday morning before backfilling.

We had some additional visitors to the site today and they couldn’t have picked a better day. Ann Lynch and Con Manning of the National Monuments Service came to take a look at the site on their way to see the excavations at Bective. They did very well to find the site! Professor Gabriel Cooney also visited on behalf of the funding authority, the Royal Irish Academy Committee for Archaeology. The discussion of the progress on site and the findings so far was very useful. It is clear that the information being revealed by the excavation is adding significantly to our knowledge of early medieval activity in the region and the story of the Brú na Bóinne area. A good result for our efforts.

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