In this blog intern Madeleine Harris describes the last week on site for the Winter/Spring program. A great experience was had by all the students during their time in Ferrycarrig! Maddy will now be moving to our Birr office for indepth training in other archaeological skills. Stay tuned for further updates …
Week 5 – 29th January 2018
This week went by quickly, as it was our last week on-site at Ferrycarrig and we were busy! On Monday, Grace and I began preparing our presentation, which we would deliver on Friday, along with Denis, Steve, and Chris Hayes of the INHP in their visitor center. The main focus of this presentation was discussing the past, present, and future of Ferrycarrig. We spent the majority of the week working on this presentation.
Meanwhile, the students were all busy with the excavation. In the beginning of the week, we extended Cutting 1 in two places to better identify the revetment wall, as well as the walls in the northeastern corner of the cutting. The rest of the week was spent carefully excavating these extensions.
I also continued working on post-excavation this week, and finished rotations with the students. Richard and the students working in the extensions kept me busy, as they discovered some unique finds in the northeastern section of Cutting 1, particularly pieces of burnt sandstone, or possible thick medieval pottery. We plan to bring these pieces to a specialist soon to learn more about them.
On Tuesday, we were lucky to receive a visit from Claire Cotter, who excavated the site from 1986-7. It was great to meet her and learn more about her excavation and experience. Later in the day, Steve presented a second lecture about archaeological impact assessments, and went into greater depth. We practiced using the various sources provided and discussed the trail we would walk the following week.
The remainder of the week was mostly spent finishing up our work. The students turned in their site notebooks and focused on their research, the cuttings were continuing to be excavated and cleaned up, and final recordings were being made. On Thursday, we all met at the pub for a goodbye celebration, which was a fun way to wrap up the month together.
Friday was a busy day, as we had a lot to accomplish before the end of the field school. Most students were finishing feature sheets, which we had been working on all week. Others continued planning and photographing and ensuring everything was registered correctly. We also took samples from two different features and hoped to recover organic material, particularly charcoal, for radiocarbon dating. After these were collected, Denis, Monica, Liam and I spent the afternoon floating and sieving the samples and successfully recovered small bits of charcoal, which we hope to send to a specialist in New Zealand. Around noon, we all took a break and walked to the visitor center for our presentation. After more than a week of hard work and preparation, we held the public lecture and presented our findings, experiences, and goals for the site. Afterwards, attendees were invited to come up the hill and learn more about our work.
At the end of the day on Friday, we all walked down the hill together and said our goodbyes. As students went back to their homestays to prepare for their flights home or their travels abroad, Denis, Grace and I took a journey to Birr, County Offaly, where the second portion of my internship would begin!