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Team of experts believe they have unearthed a per-medieval cemetery at the heart of Dublin city. Photo by: Rubicon Heritage

Could the four bodies found at Trinity roadworks be Vikings?

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Team of experts believe they have unearthed a per-medieval cemetery at the heart of Dublin city. Photo by: Rubicon Heritage

The archaeological firm excavating the site outside Trinity College, in Dublin’s city center, have discovered at least four bodies, the age of which they have not yet determined, but they could be from the Viking era.

On July 16 skeletal remains were discovered by the construction team working on the cross-city Luas (tram) line in Dublin, on College Green at the north gates of Trinity College. Rubicon Heritage Service was brought in to examine what seemed to be a historic site.

They have determined that the initial skeletal remains, buried at a depth of 1.5 meters, were “situated below the known level of post-medieval activity, suggesting the remains are most likely medieval or earlier in date.”

“Over the course of subsequent days the partial remains of at least four more individuals were uncovered within the trench; these were archaeologically excavated from the area in July. This suggests that this part of College Green functioned as a cemetery at some point in Dublin’s past.”

Nikolah Gilligan, the Site Director, said in a statement, “All, bar one of the individuals, were positioned in north-south orientated grave cuts, apparently with no grave goods present.

She added, “‘It is too early to confirm the date of the human remains, though the possibility that they are Viking cannot be discounted, given previously recorded Viking activity in the area.”

The area of College Green was once known as Hoggen Green, from the Old Norse word “haugr” meaning mound, or barrow. The cemetery in the area consisted of several burial mounds, which are thought to have contained the remains of some of the Norse kings of Dublin. Evidence of Viking burials has previously been found in the area.

Human Remains Specialist, Carmelita Troy, has carried out a visual assessment of the remains, confirming that at least one of the individuals was an adult male, while one of the others was a sub-adult, aged under 18 years at the time of their death.

A detailed archaeological and osteoarchaeological analysis will now be carried out by Rubicon Heritage Services.

Just three years ago a construction team working in Temple Bar’s Meeting House Square, less than a mile from College Green, discovered a small Viking settlement, located on what was an island in the River Poddle.

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