Irish immigrant village unearthed in Maryland

Artist's impression of Creole, a ship used by emigrants fleeing famine in Roscommon

An Irish village is being gradually unearthed in Baltimore County in the first known survey of an Irish immigrant village in the U.S.

Archaeology students at the University of Maryland, College Park, have been digging in the area which was called Texas by the Irish immigrants who settled there.

They named the area Texas after failing to get as far as the state which was their original destination.

"The idea is to find objects people owned and used so we can piece together life stories and create larger stories of the daily life in Texas," said Stephen A. Brighton, an assistant professor in the university's department of anthropology.

"Many studies have focused on the prominent families, but this is the first to look into the Irish working community."

The Irish settlement of Texas began by 1847 and by 1860 Texas was home to an established Irish community.

Many residents in Texas can trace their families to Ballykilcline in County Roscommon where about 1,100 people emigrated between 1847 and 1852.

Brighton conducted a similar dig in Ballykilkine last year and one of his aims is to compare the artifcacts found in Roscommon with the ones found in Maryland.

"We will spend a year trying to tease out information on why these items were deposited, when they date to and what they mean," Brighton said.