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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Return Of The Discovery Programme

Welcome back to the Discovery Programme led by Dr Niall Brady and the team.

For the past four years the DP have been unearthing a medieval tower house sited on an earlier earthwork that may be on a prehistoric horizon.

The aim of the DP is to discover more about the medieval Gaelic lordship in rural Ireland.

The team have discovered that the tower house was approximately 10 x 20 metres in size and comes after an earlier occupation of 10th to 11th century.
Several episodes of demolition and rebuilding took place over the subsequent centuries and at one stage it was occupied in the 16th century when Tulsk was garrisoned by Sir Richard Bingham ,Queen Elizabeth 1st's governor to Connacht.

Amongst other areas on the site last year the team focused heavily on the garderobe chute (the toilet), sifting and floating the "material" found to extract seeds that our ancestors had expelled.

Why the hell would you want to do that? you may ask. Well, if you can study the seeds expelled you have a good indication of the carbohydrates in the early diet. The garderobe chute was also the kitchen waste disposal so if you look at the animal bones that were thrown out you can also surmise the protein diet.

A dirty job but well worth the effort.

At the moment the guys are removing the back fill placed there at the end of last season to protect the site. Next week will see the arrival of the volunteers from all over Europe and North America so there will be a great buzz about the place.

There are two web sites I can recommend. The first is and the second

Better still why not call into the Cruachan Ai centre for an update on the work, but please do not approach the archaeologists as they have yet to be tamed!!

Talk soon

Mike Croghan


Harold said...

Good luck to all the chaps involved in the dig this year.
It is extremely exciting to see such work being undertaken in the west of Ireland. The very best to you all.
Harold Walsh

Ms. Deirdre Ní Dhálaigh, Canada said...

I am so excited to see the Discovery Programme working on the fascinating Medieval Tulsk project for yet another year. It's great to see the range that goes into these projects, the team seem to be open minded with regard to sub-disciplines of archaeology; including science, art, architecture, history, geography, economics, sociology, anthropology, technology, religion and more!

The subject of medieval Ireland is still relatively unexplored in the archaeological literature, so I have thoroughly enjoyed the previous publications, and really look forward to the publication of their most 2007/2008 findings from this Medieval Gaelic settlement in the West of Ireland.

The Discovery Programme has done so much to advance and support the study of Medieval archaeology in Ireland, and to co-ordinate the work of many top arachaeologists and experts in related fields.

It is a triumph to have this quality of work taking place in Ireland today.

luke said...

will there be an excavtion this year??