Archaeologists in Fermanagh discover 600-year-old murder mystery beneath controversial crannog
Drumclay Crannóg area will be cleared to make way for new Enniskillen link road despite massive 4,000 object find
Archaeologists excavating the crannog site in County Fermanagh believe a 600-year-old skeleton was the victim of an ancient murder mystery.
Experts working on the Drumclay Crannóg at Enniskillen believe the woman’s remains which date back to the 15th or 16th century were buried in an “irregular” way. Investigators also found that the woman’s skull was damaged, however it is not known if this happened after death.
Archaeologists have unearthed over 4,000 artefacts during the ten-month dig at the medieval settlement. This amazing archaeological site only came to light during the development of a section of road in Northern Ireland. Despite the rich historic finds on the site there are still plans to complete the new link road in time for the G8 Summit in Fermanagh next June.
Speaking about the latests mysterious find, Doctor Nora Bermingham said, “The skeleton of a young woman, probably around 18 or 19 years with very bad teeth, was found in the upper layers of the crannog.”
While they can identify that the way in which she was buried was “irregular” they are unable to identify the cause of death and will hand the mystery off to a bones specialist.
“All we can say at the moment was that the burial itself was in slight disarray, it was slightly disarticulated, which means that it wasn’t a normal internment,” she told the Irish Times.
“This person wasn’t laid out on their back in an east-west direction, which is normal for a Christian burial.
“The body seems to have been bundled into the position it was buried in.”
Bermingham went on to consider whether this 600-year-old teenager could have been put to death.
She said, “It’s not uncommon for people who have either committed crimes or people who have been murdered or what not to have been buried in this fashion.”
The principal inspector of historic monuments with Stormont’s Department of the Environment, Doctor John O’Keeffe, agrees with Bermingham that something other than natural causes could have been a factor in this young woman’s death.
He said, “I very much suspect it was somebody who probably died suddenly and tragically at the site and rather than being brought to a graveyard they were buried there.
“I don’t know if that was clandestine or what.”
This woman’s body is over half a millennium old and carbon dating has confirmed that the Drumclay Crannóg includes some homes from around 670 AD.