Exciting new discovery made
Digging a hole, ploughing a field, metal detecting
- when we are lucky enough to uncover some relic from
the dim and distant past it gives us a window through
which we can glimpse into the lives of those who lived
in Northern Ireland many years ago. So it is exciting
to hear that four miles west of Armagh a collection
of objects, believed to date from the Bronze Age, has
been unearthed in an area of archaeological importance.
The objects discovered are a bronze sword, 61 cm long,
its wooden scabbard and two small bronze bowls. Experts
say that the sword is typical of the Irish late Bronze
Age, but the two bowls were made in central Europe,
probably in Czechoslovakia, around 1000 BC. Apparently,
the bowls enable them to date the sword and the hoard
more closely than would have hitherto been possible.
So how did the bowls come to be in Ireland? They are
unique even for the British Isles. It is possible that
they were given as gifts between neighbouring peoples
and so made their journey westwards, eventually ending
up in the possession of a warrior in Armagh. The burial
of these objects in an Armagh bog appears to have been
a ritual act, possibly to appease whatever god they
believed could alleviate the deteriorating climate.
Age hoard from near Armagh.
Small bronze bowl, bronze sword and wooden scabbard.
The objects are shown in their original relative
Neglected for so long, needless to say the objects are in
need of a bit of tender loving care - one of the bowls is
in numerous tiny fragments. The hoard is therefore undergoing
conservation at present and the aim is for these unique artefacts
to eventually go on display.
Listen - Michael McNamee hears about this Bronze Age
discovery from the finder, Sean McGirr, and Richard Warner of
the Ulster Museum (March 2004).
(Recovery, preservation and study of the hoard is a joint
project by the finder, the Ulster Museum, the Environment
and Heritage Service and Queen's University. The Ulster Museum
is the hoard's temporary home.)
Have you ever uncovered any ancient objects? How
did you come across them? What did you discover? Were you
able to find out the history behind them? Share your stories
here on 'Your Place and Mine' by filling in the form below.
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