Excavation at Carrowmore

On September 30, 2013 by admin

A second excavation took place in Inishowen this year. It was carried out by the Bernician Studies Group of the Sunderland University from August 24 – September 7, at the Early Christian site of Carrowmore. The group had undertaken extensive fieldwork the previous summer, when they established a monastic precinct on the site.  An account of their first trip to Inishowen can be found on Bernice’s blog for 2012 and Sean Beattie’s post on his blog contains the history of the monastery.

As at the excavation at Elaghmore, which ended just before this, the experience of our John Hegarty was again in demand and he was employed by the team for the duration of the excavation. Sadly he moved to fast on the day of my visit and no photo of him could be taken as a result.
But the conclusion from this dig is the same – they have to come back! And next year might just bring further archaeological investigation into Inishowen’s past.

More information on their second visit and finds made is again on Bernice’s Blog.


The article by Eilis Haden for our local papers:

Evidence of Ecclesiastical Superhighway Uncovered in Inishowen

This week a group of respected archaeologists from Sunderland University have teamed up with local historians for a second time to trowel through what appear to be the remains of a European Ecclesiastical superhighway.
Max Adams, who co-directs the dig with archaeologist Colm O’Brien, describes this superhighway as a network of early Christian monasteries spanning England, Scotland, France, Italy and Jerusalem in the Middle East. “It is quite possible” says Max that the monks of Inishowen had regular access to French wine, Italian olive oil and guidebooks on the holy sites of the promised land. It would appear from our findings that Carrowmore was a significant part of a sophisticated worldwide culture of people who shared the same faith and high levels of literacy and were influential right across the world.”
“It is a privilege to be allowed to return to dig in a place so special.” Max tells us. “We have been very lucky in that there has been strong community involvement in this project from the get go. Local volunteers and experts have been so generous with their time and knowledge and for this we are extremely grateful. We’re also delighted with the interest which local onlookers have shown and hope to see as many as possible during our open day this Thursday.
“Coming from Northumbria, I feel a very strong link with this place, as much of our own culture comes from here. Many people do not know this, but the origins of the Golden Age of Northumbria are rooted in Ireland. This began when Prince Oswald was sent to live with the Irish Dál Riada in St Columba’s heartland of Iona. During his time there, he was indoctrinated by the Monks who educated him in the ways of science and literature. When Oswald returned to Northumberland, he brought with him an entourage from Iona who introduced widespread literacy, novel farming and building methods and a deep sense of Christian spirituality.”
“Our dream is to set up an online learning resource which encompasses poetry, legend and music of the early Christian era together with academic research. What I would most like to see are signs posted at bothCarrowmore and Clonca containing a QR Code which you could scan with your phone to gain instant internet access to the knowledge gathered to date. This would contain soundscapes as well as recordings of archaeologists digging in the ground and describing their findings. It would stimulate our senses in an evocative way connecting us to our once shared past.”

The Sunderland Echo also published an article: Sunderland academics uncover important find on Christian ‘superhighway’

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