Ring of Gullion archaeological dig to feature on BBC One Homeground programme

May 23, 2016

An exciting local archaeological project recently undertaken by the Ring of Gullion Landscape Partnership, in conjunction with Queen’s University Belfast’s Centre for Archaeological Fieldwork (CAF), is set to feature on BBC One’s Homeground programme with Jo Scott this evening (Mon 23rd May).

The archaeological excavation at the site of a lost hillfort at Cornahove near Lough Ross took place over the last fortnight and a number of community groups, schools, heritage groups and sports groups have all been involved in digging into the past.

A host of local primary school children from schools across the area joined the professional archaeologists in uncovering secrets that have remained a mystery for thousands of years.

Speaking to The Examiner about the innovative project, Landscape Partnership Manager, Darren Rice said the dig had captured the minds of all the young people involved.

“Thirteen schools have been involved in the dig, with each school given the chance to do some actual digging at the site as well as learn how to measure and record any artefacts found,” explained Darren.

“Each school had an hour and a half on site. The Lead Archaeologist gave them a tour of the site, explaining what ringforts were, the surrounding landscape and why ringforts came to be there. The classes were split into two, with half taken along to a trench where they were able to dig for artefacts and half taken into the classroom and shown all the artefacts which were found and how to measure and record them.  The groups were swapped after half an hour to allow everyone to take part in the entire experience of an archaeological dig.

According to Darren “the kids loved it.

“They were all very enthusiastic and the group from Mullaghbawn Primary School who were filmed on Wednesday were brilliant –  very excited.”

The archaeological dig has turned up lots of interesting pieces, including several pieces of quartz, some 19th century pottery and, perhaps most interesting – lazybeds for potatoes in the fort itself which are estimated to be around 350 to 400 years old.

“The side of the site has also been excavated so the archaeologists know what type of fort it is, what classification it is, which is very exciting to find out as well,” added Darren.

“It has been a great project for kids to be involved in – where they’re actively engaged in uncovering pieces of history. One parent in particular told us her 11 year old boy, who was previously not interested in anything, has talked about nothing else since taking part!”

The fantastic local archaeological project will feature on BBC One Homeground with Jo Scott this evening (Monday 23rd May) at 7.30pm, ahead of a special Results Night which is set to take place on Tuesday 24th May from 7pm to 8.30pm. People are very welcome to come along on Tuesday night to the Cornahove site on results nite, where all the artefacts found will be proudly displayed.