Drumanagh Promontory Fort Conservation Plan & Exhibition launched in Rush Library

October 18, 2018 0

The Drumanagh promontory fort conservation plan and exhibition was launched in Rush library on Thursday, 18 October by deputy Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Grainne Maguire. Acquired by Fingal County Council in 2016, Drumanagh promontory fort is a multi-layered archaeological landscape. Drumanagh is a significant Iron Age site on the east coast, near Rush in County Dublin. It has long been the subject of interest due to the recovery of Romano-British material from the site and has been characterised as the place where the Romans may have landed.

Following a process of public consultation, the Drumanagh Conservation Study & Heritage Plan 2018-2023 contains accessible historical, archaeological, folkloric, and cartographic evidence. It also sets out policies and objectives for the future protection and management of the site.

Speaking at the launch, Deputy Mayor of Fingal, Cllr Grainne Maguire said: “I am delighted that the conservation plan and exhibition can be viewed in Rush Library. The site is historically important to the community as many of those involved in the excavation are from Fingal. I would like to commend their efforts as well as the efforts of Fingal County Council’s Archaeology team.”

Commenting on the significance of the site, Chief Executive of Fingal County Council, Paul Reid said: “Drumanagh is of huge value not only to Fingal but also in a national context. Council staff across various Departments are working together on the site’s ongoing protection, conservation and management so as to realise the full potential of this important site.”

The Digging Drumanagh Community Archaeology Project began in May 2018, with a two-week excavation. Archaeologists joined with interested members of the public, digging two investigative trenches by the 19th century Martello Tower.

Fingal Community Archaeologist and excavation Director, Christine Baker said: “The aim of the first scientific excavation at this site was to examine the old road to the Martello Tower and the effect of its construction on the layers below. Artefacts such as a belt brace of the Royal Downshire militia and Royal Artillery brass buttons were found alongside fragments of wine glasses, clay pipes and a range of pottery and food detritus, adding to the story of the Martello.”

Evidence of earlier activity was also recovered during the dig. Two shards of pottery uncovered during the excavation have been identified as fragments of amphorae. Used for transporting olive oil between the first and third centuries AD, the pottery originates from the Roman province of Baetica, Southern Spain. Part of a blue ‘melon’ bead found during sieving also has its origins in the Roman world.

Christine Baker explains that the discovery of Iron Age materials has been a highlight of the project: “Growing up down the road and having been a student under the late Iron Age scholar, Professor Barry Raftery, I always dreamed of digging Drumanagh. The recovery of two beautifully decorated Iron Age combs has been amazing. However more was to come. Very unexpectedly we uncovered two fragments of human bone. One was identified by our osteologist Dr Linda Lynch as part of a female skull. Radiocarbon dating from Queen’s University has confirmed a date of BC 170- AD 52. It is moving to think of a woman combing her hair here at Drumanagh, 2000 years ago.”