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Digging Drumanagh

Drumanagh i (002)

Drumanagh promontory fort is a nationally important archaeological site and is of international significance in terms of Ireland’s relationship with the Roman world.  The site consists of a headland of c.46 acres defended by a series of earthworks-three closely-spaced earthen banks and ditches. Read more in the Drumanagh Promontory Fort-Conservation Study 7 Management Plan 2018-2023

The Digging Drumanagh project was designed to fill in knowledge gaps about the site, involve the community and raise awareness of it significance in terms of archaeology, history and ecology. These are the first scientific excavations ever undertaken at the site.


The focus of the Season I excavation in 2018  was the Martello road in the vicinity of the early 19th century Martello tower, towards the eastern limit of the headland.  Two trenches were excavated and showed that the building of the Martello road disturbed Iron Age deposits. A number of fragments of human bone were also recovered including the cranial fragment of a female aged between 18 and 45 years at the time of death, which was dated to BC 170 – cal. AD 52. A long bone identified as an adult femur was recovered from the area south of the Martello road which returned a date of cal. BC 49 – cal. AD 118 indicating at least two burials in this area. There were also extensive remains associated with the occupants of the Martello Tower. See Season I Drumanagh Preliminary Report

Drumangh iii (002)

The 2019 Season II excavation took place at the other end of the Martello Road, near to the ramparts. Here a prehistoric structure was identified by the post and stakeholes left behind when the wood rotted. Nearby was a stone platform associated with a weaving comb along with numerous bone points, possible bone tools and a bone needle indicating processing and/or craftworking and textile production was being carried out here. The presence of almost 80 sherds Dressel 20 pottery from the Roman province of Baetica in Southern Spain and other Romano-British material confirms there was significant contact between Drumanagh and the Roman world in the 1st-3rd centuries AD. See Season II Drumanagh Preliminary Report

Drumangh iv (002)

Sharing of the results is an important element of the project. The Drumanagh Exhibition has been on display in Rush Library, County Hall, Swords and formed part of the St. Patrick’s Day 2019 event in Rush Community Centre. Talks have been given to the Loughshinny & Rush Historical Society and UCC Archaeology Society.

Digging Drumanagh Archaeology Ireland article

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