ADS Peatland Excavations – some highlights from the season on the Final Day…..

The 2011 Day of Archaeology marked the final day on site for the ADS Peatland Team after a six week season.
Despite a late night last night the full compliment of 18 were out at Killaderry Bog, Co Galway at 8am this morning to carry out the final sampling, recording and tracing of sites. Led by myself, Jane Whitaker, Peatlands Project Manager with support from a second site director Nicola Rohan and a fantastic team of experienced archaeologisst we excavated 20 trackways ranging in date from the Bronze Age to the Medieval Period in three Bord na Mona Bogs in Co Galway.
Gowla Bog was first on the list and here our excavations were located within a small cluster of brushwood trackways, hurdles and platforms. A couple of different hurdle constructions were noted in very close proximity and as levels in the drained industrial bogs can be deceiving we will be relying on dating to assist us in untangling this particular spaghetti junction.

Some dates were already available to us following our fieldwalking survey a couple of years ago which is always a bonus when heading out on site.

Meanwhile, across the road in Killaderry Bog our team had been joined by 10 Field School students from the University of Florida and Prof Florin Curta. While bemused by the joys of a typical Irish ‘summer’ the students got stuck in and were let loose on the excavation of a plank, gravel and stone trackway dating to AD660-770.

This site is one of several that traverse the narrow neck of the bog. In this particular case the site runs alongside and in some places crosses over a substantial Bronze Age plank and roundwood trackway.
As noted above, todays work involved the final tracing and linking of the excavated sites. Re-cutting of the drains to facilitate the peat harvesting process and indeed the harvesting itself revealed additional sightings along trackways identified during our initial fieldwalking survey works. These were all cleaned, recorded and a GPS reading taken while other team members were furiously lifting, bagging and logging the final samples. Bord na Mona Project Archaeologist Charles Mount came out for a final visit.
All too soon it was time to count tools, load the jeeps with samples, bid farewell to the team and the ever patient staff in Bord na Mona and hit the road for the long dive home.
While we are all looking forward to scraping the last of the peat out of our fingernails, after thirteen seasons, 250 excavations and thousands of miles of Bord na Mona bogs walked we’re still looking forward to the next season already!
Next task is to write up the preliminary reports, select samples for dating and patiently await the results from our paleo collegues from Reading University……..