Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Glendalough Field School 2014: Part 1

UCD Fieldschool in Glendalough, August 2013

Since 2009, UCD School of Archaeology has conducted small scale excavations at Glendalough which, despite its iconic status has seen little recent archaeological research. The dig this year focuses around the anomalies found in a geophysical survey carried out in 2011 by Ian Elliot alongside the school.

Two trenches (Trench 11 & 12) have been opened in between the main monastic complex and Our Lady's church in order to investigate these anomalies. The earth resistance & magnetic survey paved the way for the opening to trench 11 which will examine a possible large ditch lined with stones. This potentially could be one of the main boundaries of the monastic complex. Near the western part of the trench there is evidence for a rectangular structure most likely medieval in date. This particular trench aims to answer questions about the early phases of the monastic city.

Geophysics identified a small curvilinear ditched feature which may represent an earlier enclosure. This may present to us a pre-monastic settlement at Glendalough. 

The opening of trench 10 was initiated by the identification of a stone feature along the Pattern Bank located between the monastic settlement and the river to the north. We hope for excavations to reveal part of an ancient enclosure of the monastic city or a structure earlier in date. 

Moving onto the happenings of our first day, the archaeology students entering 2nd year were brought on a brief tour of Glendalough which led them into lunch time. Meanwhile supervisors mapped out and constructed the fencing surrounding each trench. Desodding took place after lunch on trenches 11 and 12 which were then cleaned back directly afterwards. All in all our first day went fantastically, we got all the dirty work done and have made preparations to bring on (hopefully) an even more successful fortnight!

Excavation Newsletters:

  By Brandon Walsh
& Emily Geoghegan
Peace and quiet in Glendalough, August 2013

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