“The new A32 Cherrymount link road near Enniskillen will eventually be built on top of the crannog…”

The BBC reports, as do other news outlets, the Northern Ireland Environment Minister’s press release on “the first substantial, scientific excavation of a crannog in Northern Ireland”.  A “huge treasure trove of artefacts” was uncovered – potentially of “international importance” – and the crannog was occupied from at least AD 900 to AD 1600.  The ministerial press release also announced “the Drumclay Crannog Open Day on Saturday 1st December” – between 9.30 and 3.00pm. 

The BBC has the DoE images in an online gallery.  Including this image of a comb made from bone with an incised decoration.

From the BBC report

Environment Minister Alex Attwood, who visited the crannog on Thursday to announce details of Saturday’s open [day], said the dig had changed his view of history and Irish life.

“This is the first substantial, scientific excavation of a crannog in Northern Ireland. What has been found has the potential not only to be internationally important but ultimately to lead to a reassessment of life in Ulster in early Christian and medieval times,” he said.

“It was important therefore that we took both time and the effort to unearth this rich seam of history. That is why in August I placed an exclusion zone around the site and ensured that the time was given to allow archaeological excavation to proceed.”

The crannog open day will include a series of talks at the Fermanagh County Museum, followed by a guided tour of the site.

Access to the site for the tour can only be obtained via an official coach at the Fermanagh County Museum at Enniskillen Castle Museums.

Spaces are limited for the talks and the tour of the site and booking is advisable on 028 6632 5000 (NI) or 048 6632 5000 (ROI).

Which leaves unanswered the questions posed by the Institute for Archaeologists on 25 July this year.

Questions that remain to be answered include why the road was routed so close to an important site, and why the engineering decision was taken that so disastrously affected the hydrology of the site, precipitating an emergency archaeological solution.

And, after the Open Day

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  • Two more links:

    Urgent! Important Early Christian Crannog in Fermanagh in danger of destruction – help needed! … July 17, 2012:

    The site has produced a gold pin, a human skeleton, medieval leather objects, medieval woven cloth, a wooden plate, and barbed and tanged arrowheads, amongst other finds. Most importantly, it has produced the remains of a double-walled wattle house. This type of house has only previously been found on excavations Wood Quay, Co. Dublin, and Deer Park Farms, Co. Antrim.

    This site is of vital importance to our knowledge of crannog construction – it has the potential to be a vital piece in our understanding of the Early Christian period on this Island and its place within Europe.

    Drumclay, Cherrymount, a crannog in crisis .. November 9, 2012:

    The site of the crannog was to be bridged according to the Roads Service. The Roads Service claims that this methodology was agreed with the NIEA. It is unclear whether this work was monitored by the archaeologist on site. It is clear from the methodology outlined in this document that the crannog and its environs would be unlikely to survive these alterations to the environment in which it was preserved.

  • I never cease to be amazed/surprised driving through Ireland, north and south, at the number of man made mounds never excavated. It makes me wonder how many other “treasures” are waiting to be found. And exploited for tourism after proper complete archeological investigation.

  • Barnshee

    How do you know they are man made?

  • between the bridges

    Booked on the tour tomorrow, chaining myself to the JCB Monday!

  • between the bridges

    Drumclay, Cherrymount, a crannog in crisis
    Paper presented to the Institute of Archaeologists of Ireland,
    Holiday Inn Express, Belfast 2nd November 2012

  • Barnshee,

    Guidebooks and Ordnance survey large scale maps. I use the maps often when travelling over there to find interesting ancient sites. There are about 50 or so covering the whole island. Some of the mounds are very obvious; completely flat ground around with a mound sticking up.

  • between the bridges

    I went to the open day, fascinating on many levels! the tour consisted of a 30min presentation in enniskillen castle and a short bus trip to the site for an overview of the excavation and a viewing of some of the artifacts. I was surprised to learn there are 140 odd Crannogs in fermanagh.
    The new road is virtually complete on both sides of the dig and the site itself is approx 6m below road level. now us mere plebs weren’t allowed down to the site during the tour, but any interested local could have went back on Sunday for a prowl around!!
    Apart from the obvious historical significance of the site the other thing that struck me was the two primary aged kids mucking about down at the dig. A privilege denied to the 6 schools within a 1 mile radius of the site, perhaps the fact they were in the ministers company explains this rare opportunity! of course the minister has had several occasions to visit the site and we should all be grateful that he graciously announced a single ‘open day’ with the extremely generous 48hrs prior notice!!