Knockvicar excavations to be discussed

A meeting of the Co. Roscommon Historical and Archaeological Society will take place on Tuesday 17th June at 8.30 pm in the Dun Maeve Centre, Strokestown. After the meeting an illustrated lecture will take place at which guests will hear an update on excavations at Kilteasheen, Knockvicar. The lecture will be given by Chris Read, Director of Excavations, and of the Institute of Technology, Sligo. All welcome to this event. Kilteasheen is a medieval ecclesiastical settlement where the Boyle River enters Lough Key in Co. Roscommon. The excavation is sponsored by the American Institute of Irish Archaeology, the Sligo IT Dept. of Archaeology and St Louis University. The site is located on the lands of Mr and Mrs John and Tina Burke to which their support is greatly welcomed. The third field season at Kilteasheen was funded by the Royal Irish Academy and was completed in July 2007. The project is an interdisciplinary research project incorporating historical research, topographical and geophysical surveying and excavation. It is run as a field school for archaeology students from both the US and IT, Sligo. Excavation in 2007 was focused on three soil cuttings which showed a considerable amount of burials with radiocarbon dates from 800 AD to 1300 AD. These dates coupled with other evidence indicate the site was in use as an early ecclesiastical centre. Remains of a stone building may be the ruins of the Bishop’s ‘cuirt’ or seat as mentioned in the annals. Excavations in all areas of the site have revealed hundreds of lithic artifacts, indicating the important, medieval gaelic lordly site, built on a much earlier prehistoric foundation. The 2008 excavation programme will be focused on the completion of the three cuttings with evidence for further burial activity and the total excavation of the bishop’s seat.