Major historical find in Fermanagh - 1,000 year old Crannog at the center of archaeological dig
Find is of international historic significance but may soon be a motor way bypass
Another Irish site with major international archaeological significance will shortly have a motor way link road paved through it. The site, located inCounty Fermanagh, has been called one of the most important and interesting archaeological digs in Northern Ireland.
Known as a crannog - an artificial island in a lake - archeologists at the site have been making startling discoveries almost weekly since the dig began in June.
Now however, according to the BBC, the Institute for Archaeologists (IFA) has become concerned about 'the apparently imminent destruction' of the historical site. To date they have regarded the crannog as too fragile to preserve rather than excavate after the nearby engineering works for the road scheme drained water from the site.
The new A32 Cherrymount link road near Enniskillen will eventually be built on top of the archeological wonder.
But as the dig went on it became clear it was of international significance, revealing a wealth of information about living conditions there.
Although at the time inhabitants would have had little private space in the cramped conditions that are little bigger than a large modern living room, the house walls were insulated with heather and other native plants and living conditions were reportedly reasonably comfortable for the times.
Humans probably shared their homes with occasional unwelcome guests like bugs and parasites, and the surrounding lake could have occasionally flooded the floors from time to time.
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But the objects found to date show that people living there were very sophisticated, skilled at metal working, woodworking and carpentry, from constructing their houses to decorating wooden containers of all sizes.
It has been revealed that the crannog was occupied from at least AD 900 to AD 1600, and was probably the home of a noble Irish family, perhaps with four or five houses lived in at any time, occupied by an extended family of parents, grandparents, children, servants and retinue.
Some of the most striking finds to date include a wooden bowl with a cross carved into its base, a unique find from an excavation in Ireland, and exquisite combs made from antler and bone, ornate status symbols that date to between 1000 and 1100 AD.
Other finds include what is believed to be the largest collection of pottery from a crannog in Northern Ireland, as well as ornaments of iron, bronze and bone.
A huge number of wooden remains have been found, from gaming chess-like pieces, to drinking cups right through to the timber foundations of dozens of houses. Archaeologists have also discovered leather shoes, agricultural equipment, knives and decorated dress pins.
Environment Minister Alex Attwood told the BBC the dig had changed his view of history and Irish life.
'This is the first substantial, scientific excavation of a crannog in Northern Ireland. What has been found has the potential not only to be internationally important but ultimately to lead to a reassessment of life in Ulster in early Christian and medieval times,' he said.
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