Part of human skull found at Drumanagh

by Sylvia Pownall
Cllr. Brian Dennehy, Deputy Mayor of Fingal Cllr. Grainne Maguire, Chief State Archaeologist Michael McDonagh and Fingal Community Archaeologist Christine Baker at the launch of the Conservation Study & Management Plan 2018-2023.

Part of a human skull dating back more than 2,000 years have been discovered during a dig at Drumanagh fort near Rush.

The discovery was made during a community archaeology dig along two trenches by the Martello Tower at the Iron Age site.

The promontory fort was acquired by Fingal County Council in 2016 and is of significant interest following the recovery of Romano-British artefacts.

It has been characterised as the place where the Romans may have landed. Fingal Community Archaeologist and excavation director, Christine Baker, said: “Growing up down the road and having been a scholar under the late Iron Age scholar, Prof Barry Raftery, I always dreamed of digging Drumanagh.

“Artefacts such as a belt brace of the Royal Downshire militia and Royal Artillery brass buttons were found alongside fragments of wine glasses, clay pipes and a range of pottery and food particles, adding to the story of the Martello.”

Evidence of earlier activity was also recovered during the dig including shards of pottery which have their origins in the Roman era.

More significant was the find of two fragments of human bone which have been identified as part of a female skull dating back to BC170-AD52.

Christine revealed: “The recovery of two beautifully decorated Iron Age combs has been amazing. However more was to come.

Very unexpectedly we uncovered two fragments of human bone.

“One was identified by our osteologist Dr Linda Lynch as part of a female skull. Radiocarbon dating from Queen’s University has confirmed a date of BC 170- AD 52. It is moving to think of a woman combing her hair here at Drumanagh, 2000 years ago.”

A conservation plan for the Drumanagh fort has now been unveiled by Fingal County Council and is currently on display at Rush Library.

Following a process of public consultation, the Drumanagh Conservation Study & Heritage Plan 2018-2023 contains accessible historical, archaeological, folkloric, and cartographic evidence.

It also sets out policies and objectives for the future protection and management of the site.

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