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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

New Additions at Cruachan Ai!

Ducks on Bridge at Cruachan Ai Heritage Center, County Roscommon, Ireland

We have some friendly new additions to the Cruachan Ai team! These beautiful ducks have moved onto the Ogulla river where it flows through Tulsk Village. Bring the kids along to feed them, while you relaxe. You can have a chat, drink some fresh ground coffee or quality tea, browse the net using the free WiFi connection, or read a great book you can purchase from our well stocked Book & Craft shop!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

New Book on Rathcroghan!

"Rathcroghan: Archaeological and geophysical survey in a Ritual Landscape"
by John Waddell, Joseph Fenwick, and Kevin Barton.
Published by Wordwell Ltd, Ireland. 2009. (ISBN 9 781905 569311)

Rathcroghan (Crúachain) is often referred to as both a 'Celtic' Royal Settlement and a sacred burial place; it is one of several major royal sites in ancient Ireland, such as Tara, Co. Meath, Knockaulin, Co. Kildare, and Navan Fort near Armagh, that are frequently mentioned in early literature. While these sites had special importance in early historic times, and in some cases bore and extraordinary weight of myth and legend, we now know that they are older archaeological assemblages of impressive complexity and size.

This book is the result of a major programme of archaeological field research at Rathcroghan in County roscommon in the West of Ireland. The project involved the use of a range of geophysical techniques to explore a number of extraordinary monuments in the Royal Site.

Professor John Waddell, Opening Speech at the Launch of Rathcroghan Book

The book was launched on 22nd July in the Cruachan Ai Heritage Centre, in conjunction with NUI Galway and Roscommon County Council, to an excellent turn out. Speeches by the authors, Kieran O'Conor of NUIG, and the County Manager Mr. Frank Dawson, proclaimed this site to be Roscommon richest Resource, and equally the equivalent in status and importance of Tara, due to preservation levels and longevity of occupation. Signed copies are available to purchase in the Cruachan Ai Craft & Book Shop, or can be purchased directly from the publishers, Please Click This Link to Go to the Wordwell Website

Discovery Programme 2009 Dig

The DP were in residence from May to July this season, for their last year at Tulsk. Archaeological research conducted by the Discovery Programme, Ireland’s archaeological research institute funded by the Heritage Council, has been examining the nature of Gaelic lordship and settlement in north Roscommon during the later medieval period, c. 1170-1650 AD. Since 2003, elements of this work have focussed on the history and development of Tulsk, as the principal residence of the O’Conor Roe lords. Excavation on the ringfort in Tulsk village has revealed a sequence of unexpected and complex settlement horizons, which include a medieval castle-building phase and an Elizabethan-period (c. 1560-90s) occupation, when the mound was included as part of the works associated with the garrisoning of Tulsk by Sir Richard Bingham, ‘flail of Connacht’.

In 2009, the archaeological team has focused on a series of critical strata that explain the dating and development of the site. This year’s work considered the ringfort that underlies the medieval tower.
The work shows the impressive boulder clay bank and ditch. It also shows the levels of soil introduced at a later date to build up the ringfort into a ‘platform’ of ‘raised rath’ form, sometime before the building of the medieval tower. The recent excavation n has also revealed prehistoric levels, that extend back into the Mesolithic period, before the time of farming and when hunting and gathering prevailed. The sequence of levels reveals the degree to which the medieval lords attached value to returning to known sites of habitation.

Student volunteers from Ireland and from around the world have contributed to the success of the excavation project, and publications are expected to begin next year.