Additional Donegal archaeological discovery at new Sheil Hospital project in Ballyshannon

Finds include an ancient capstone and Bronze Age burial urn

Additional  Donegal archaeological discovery at new Sheil Hospital project in Ballyshannon

The Bronze Age burial urn unearthed this week in Ballyshannon

A second significant archaeological discovery has been made in south Donegal this week.

The HSE are currently undertaking excavation works at the building site of the new community hospital project at the existing Sheil Hospital site in Ballyshannon and the two archaeological discoveries have been made on the site, a ancient burial capstone and a burial urn, have created a great buzz among locals and archaeologists alike. 

It is almost directly opposite the Ballyhanna skeletons and graveyard discovered in 2003 by archaeologists on the southern Clogher side of the Erne River during the construction of the N15 Ballyshannon bypass.

The National Monuments Service and National Museum were made aware of the unearthing of the capstone last Monday (August 24) and a team of three archaeologists have been on the sites since carefully examining the area where the capstone was unearthed and a wider area close to it, a spokesperson for the HSE told donegallive.ie

THE ANCIENT CAPSTONE THAT WAS DISCOVERED LAST WEEK 

On Friday last (August 28) the capstone was carefully removed from the site for further examination and analysis.
The contractor is on site and continuing with the site clearance, removal of trees etc and erecting the Site Hoardings all as planned.

It comprises a large flat sandstone boulder complete with rock art in the form of cup marks incised into its upper surface.   Monuments of this kind are classified as Boulder Burials and are thought to date to the Bronze Age 2500 BC to 500BC.  The capstone did overlay a small amount of cairn material within a large pit, which was fully investigated but contained no burial.

The National Monuments Service and National Museum were made aware of the unearthing of the capstone last Monday (August 24th) and a team of three archaeologists have been on the sites since carefully examining the area where the capstone was unearthed and a wider area close to it.  On Friday last (August 28) the capstone was carefully removed from the site for further examination and analysis.

Subsequent further archaeological investigations have uncovered the remains of an inverted urn burial. Urn burials date to the Bronze Age and comprise a large ceramic pot usually highly decorated; and containing cremated remains.

The urn has been removed by Specialist Conservator and sent for conservation.  All the cremated remains recovered from the site will be analysed by osteoarchaeologist and the results presented in the site excavation report.

Mr Shane Campbell, HSE Estates Manager, North West was present at the unearthing and stated

"The earth removal work that started last week is part of an overall €21 million euro construction of the new Sheil Community Hospital.  I wish to offer reassurance that work is continuing on site as planned.  

"The Contractor is on site and continuing with the site clearance, removal of trees etc and erecting the Site Hoarding, all as planned, the archaeological works will not delay the overall works programme.  

"The HSE would like to thank Tamlyn McHugh and Fadó Archaeology for their painstaking work in uncovering these significant historical artefacts and ensuring they are properly conserved."  

But the new discovery is great news for local archaeological sleuths.

 

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