Celtic art

Rathnadrinna Research Excavation, Cashel, Co. Tipperary, Ireland

This year marks the first season of excavation on Rathnadrinna Fort, funded by the Royal Irish Academy of Ireland. Rathnadrinna Fort is a trivallate, circular hilltop enclosure situated in Lalor’s-Lot townland, 3.33km south-southeast of the Rock of Cashel, Co. Tipperary, Ireland.  The hilltop affords the fort extensive views across the adjacent low lying land and is inter-visible with a number of high-status forts surrounding the Rock of Cashel, to the north. Rathnadrinna Fort is the largest and best preserved of Cashel’s forts, and research here presents an ideal opportunity to learn more about the evolution and function of such sites in a royal landscape.

After three weeks digging we have uncovered a stone-lined corn-drying kiln outside the fort, the excavation of the fort ditches is underway and these are proving to be substantial in nature. We have revealed the old ground surface beneath portions of the fort banks and the excavation of the fort interior is revealing many interesting features. Finds to date include worked flints, an unidentified ferrous object from the fill of the kiln, and an interesting assemblage of late post medieval finds from a dumping episode outside the fort bank.

Our international team of volunteers includes diggers from Brazil, USA, Poland, Lithuania, Germany, Austria, England and Ireland. We have facilitated local primary school visits where the children were able be archaeologists for a day, meet the diggers and see our discoveries. For the Day of Archaeology Rowan Lacey gave a display of flint knapping, James Bonsall did a Magnetometer Survey over our kiln, Liudas Juodzbalys showed us a DVD of his experimental iron working, we had a game of hurling, the site director bought everyone a bag of the finest Morelli’s chips and Mickaela from San Paulo made a cheese fondue! Follow us on www.facebook.com/rathnadrinna

Working on the Scottish Archaeological Research Framework (ScARF) pt 1

Tea: Key ingredient to working life

Good morning from a summery Edinburgh, Scotland! ‘Summery’ in Edinburgh often means driving rain though today we’ve got a lot of cloud with some sunshine poking through.

My name is Jeff Sanders and I am the Project Manager for the Scottish Archaeological Research Framework (ScARF). ScARF aims to provide a review of what we know about Scotland’s past through archaeology and related disciplines, and to consider what promising areas of research we might pursue in the future. We run a series of nine panels of specialists to explore different aspects of Scotland’s past (Palaeolithic & Mesolithic; Neolithic, Bronze Age; Iron Age; Roman Scotland; Medieval; Modern; Marine & Maritime; and Science in Scottish Archaeology).

Each panel produces a report which will be available online early in 2012 and we have a number of other resources that will be available on the website. A lot of my job entails co-ordinating the work of the panels and developing the panel reports, which is a fantastic way of getting to know all the exciting research that is being undertaken across Scotland.

Opening of the refurbished museum!

Today I’m working on three of the reports, but before that, it is something of a celebration at my workplace! I work for the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland (SoAS), an organisation that is based in the National Museums Scotland (NMS) on Chambers Street (more about the SoAS later). The National Museum is effectively two museums in one, a modern museum and a Victorian building (previously known as the Royal Museum). The Victorian building has been closed for over 3 years to have a massive refit and it opens to the public today.

The street outside was closed for the opening celebration involving a T-Rex, drummers, abseilers, fireworks and a reproduction Carnyx. There were a lot of people there and the atmosphere was incredible. It was good to move among the crowd and see so many really keen to get into the building (work colleagues included!). Inside, the museum is spectacular and I’ll include a few photos in the next posts. Before that, I need to check my email and sort out some of the work in my in-tray.

 

My work desk